SFMTA prepares to chop another 230 positions 

Nearly 200 operators will lose their jobs as part of a new wave of massive layoffs the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is proposing in order to reduce its budget deficit.

The SFMTA, which this week is laying off about 30 people and will ax another 78 in two months, wants to trim 230 more positions, including 170 operators. The transit agency, which oversees Muni, is also reducing service in an effort to close a $16.9 million operating shortfall by June 30, the end of this fiscal year.

The initial round of layoffs of 108 workers and eliminating 142 positions will save the agency $12 million this fiscal year.

The proposal to extend wait times by 15 minutes on some lines, which is scheduled to go into effect May 1, reduces Muni’s service time by 313,000 hours annually. That would allow the agency to put fewer vehicles on the road — and subsequently use fewer employees — which would result in a savings of $4.8 million for this fiscal year, and $28.5 million on an annual basis.

Of the 230 positions set to be eliminated, some are vacant, and the SFMTA is still determining how many workers would be laid off as a result of the staff reduction, department spokesman Judson True said.

Irwin Lum — spokesman for Transit Workers Union Local 250-A, the union representing Muni drivers — said his organization has yet to be informed by the SFMTA staff about the proposed reductions.

“What is going on is a total injustice,” Lum said. “This just shows that the MTA management is totally incompetent.”

Sonali Bose, chief financial officer for the SFMTA, said the agency has lost $240 million in revenue sources during the past two fiscal years, and has few options left to balance its budget.

The SFMTA’s board of directors will vote on a series of cost-saving measures — including its plan to increase wait times and eliminate 230 positions — at its March 2meeting.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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