Seven supes will ride Muni for 22 days in June; mayor hasn’t weighed in 

The mayor and Board of Supervisors were challenged by passengers to ride Muni for 22 days, and now most of the responses are in.

Officials were also tasked by the San Francisco Transit Riders with taking selfies on Muni and publishing them via Twitter with the hashtag #OnBoardSF, which will move their position on a scoreboard.

The Transit Riders said riding Muni will help city officials “better understand the rider’s daily experience” to inspire planning a more reliable, robust and visionary transit system. Muni currently faces unfunded capital needs in the next two decades in excess of $11.5 billion, according to budget documents.

Seven of the 11 supervisors — Jane Kim, John Avalos, David Campos, Eric Mar, Julie Christensen, Scott Wiener and London Breed — have accepted the 22-day challenge, which starts June 1.

“The challenge forces me out of my car more to ride the 5-[Fulton] Rapid,” Mar told The San Francisco Examiner. It’s also a bus line he helped establish.

For their City Hall commutes, Breed will ride the N-Judah; Wiener the K-Ingleside, L-Taraval or M-Ocean View; Kim the 19-Polk; and Campos the 67-Bernal Heights. Christensen did not specify a route, and Avalos said he will “pray” there are no switchbacks when he takes the J-Church to work.

Breed already tweeted a selfie using @londonbreed on a 9-San Bruno bus, focusing on her red high heels.

“Check Twitter for all her different shoes and all the different buses,” Breed’s aide Vallie Brown told The Examiner.

Kim lives close enough that she usually walks to City Hall, but said riding Muni often gives her insight into San Franciscans’ daily lives. On one ride, she said, she heard “tons of grumbling about private events extending their commute home.”

Supervisor Mark Farrell may participate in the challenge sparingly, one of his aides said, as he often wakes up early and drives his kids to school. But he will use the 38-Geary Rapid as often as possible in June.

A representative for Supervisor Norman Yee said he has taken Muni for much of his life, making the challenge redundant. Supervisor Katy Tang took a similar position.

“I have spent about one-third of my life as a Muni rider,” Tang said.

“That’s over 3,650 days and counting.”

Tang described some of the experiences she’s had.

“I have experienced long waits, blackouts, a waterfall gushing out of West Portal station and climbing out of a tunnel with fellow riders when the train I was on broke down, to name just a few experiences,” she said. The challenge was inspired by the 1993 ballot measure Proposition AA, which tasked city officials with riding public transit to and from work at least twice a week. The policy was nonbinding.

Neither The Examiner nor the Transit Riders heard back from Supervisor Malia Cohen or Mayor Ed Lee on accepting the Muni challenge. In a blog post on Medium.com, transit activist Andy Bosselman wrote that “photo ops are the only time Ed Lee rides our lurching and grossly underfunded transit system.”

But Transit Riders spokeswoman Ilyse Magy was more optimistic.

“They have until June, so I don’t consider them not accepting yet,” she said.

Tweets from supervisors riding Muni:

Supervisor Eric Mar

Supervisor Jane Kim

Supervisor John Avalos

About The Author

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Bio:
Born and raised in San Francisco, Fitzgerald Rodriguez was a staff writer at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and now writes the S.F. Examiner's political column On Guard. He is also a transportation beat reporter covering pedestrians, Muni, BART, bikes, and anything with wheels.
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