Riders’ anger continues over Muni service cuts 

The Municipal Transportation Agency took a drubbing Saturday as about 100 angry riders told Muni at a town hall what they thought about higher prices and longer wait times at bus stops.

As a measure to help reconcile a $16.9 million budget deficit by June 30, the MTA has proposed increasing the cost of the senior and disabled Fast Passes, cutting service to almost every line and the possibility of charging for metered parking on Sundays.

Julianne Nigro, 22, worried that her commute from Treasure Island, where she works at the nonprofit drug treatment center Walden House, to her home in Potrero Hill would take hours.

The MTA is considering cutting service in the morning by 50 percent to the often-overcrowded 108 line, and to leave the island at night, riders would have to wait an hour as opposed to the current 45 minutes.

For those who live and work on Treasure Island, service cuts to the one public transportation option available have an enormous impact. Residents cannot bike or walk the western span of the Bay Bridge and taxis are expensive and difficult to find.

The City plans to transform Treasure Island — a manmade, 450-acre plot of land — into “one of the most environmentally sustainable” communities in the nation. But Nigro worries that she’ll have to pollute the environment to keep working there.

“Basically, I need to get a car,” Nigro said.

Howard Woo, 79, pointed out that while the price of his Muni Fast Pass increases, his social security benefits stay the same.

“Does the director of Muni ever take Muni himself?” Woo asked. “Do they know what we need as a rider? I don’t think so.”

The town halls are an opportunity for the MTA to learn about what riders want, said spokesman Judson True, who often addressed the crowd’s concerns.

“We understand people are frustrated,” True said. “One of the purposes of our town hall is to also let people know what’s causing our deficit.”

In the last three years, the MTA has lost almost $180 million because of state cuts, True said. The next town hall will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. at MTA headquarters, 1 South Van Ness Ave.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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