Survey: Muni riders consider system unreliable 

Muni riders in San Francisco value reliable service above all else — and it happens to be the one thing they say they’re not getting.

Nearly 90 percent of 3,000 people who took a recent Muni rider survey said reliability is the "most important service aspect" when itcomes to riding The City’s buses and trains. Peak service, travel time and more information followed close behind.

When asked, "When you don’t ride Muni, why not?" about 65 percent of those surveyed said the system is unreliable and has slow service. About 30 percent of respondents said having to transfer buses keeps them away, while about 15 percent said inconvenient route locations are deterrents.

Along with the San Francisco Controller’s Office, Muni conducted an online and paper survey last spring as part of the Transit Effectiveness Project, the first major review of the system in 25 years. Full results from the rider survey are expected next month, Sally Allen of the Controller’s Office said. A separate survey for seniors and people with disabilities is ongoing.

Allen said TEP staff members conducted a survey to reach community members and Muni riders who were not contacted through other outreach efforts and could not attend the various workshops.

TEP staff have collected and analyzed a plethora of data, including reliability, passenger loads, coverage, cost, customer service and rider experience. Allen said draft recommendations for how to improve Muni systemwide are expected this fall.

"We are in midproject and looking at a multiplicity of solutions for improving not just reliability, but also travel times and other issues raised by our riders," Muni spokeswoman Maggie Lynch said. "There is no silver bullet or easy solutions."

Of the people surveyed, about 25 percent said they use Muni because it’s the most convenient option. About 23 percent of people said they ride Muni to avoid parking or because it’s their "only available transportation."

Overwhelmingly, riders said reliability is paramount. They were less concerned with additional coverage, easier transfers, more off-peak service, safety and comfort.

arocha@examiner.com

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