Sweeping changes await Muni 

The most extensive Muni service reductions in history have been debated, criticized, defended and ridiculed for the past five months, but on May 8, they will become a reality.

With Muni planning to reduce the number of vehicles it runs each day, the wait time between arriving buses and trains will extend, leaving passengers standing around longer to board more-crowded vehicles. In total, more than 300,000 hours will be slashed from the annual transit schedule, a reduction in service that amounts to 10 percent.

The changes will be felt on all Muni lines, including the most-used commuter lines like the 38-Geary and the N-Judah and the less-frequented community routes like the 35-Eureka. The reductions will be blunted for the busy lines, with some of the more heavily used routes seeing no change during peak commuter times. In rare instances, the wait time will decrease on heavily used lines.

Some local bus routes, such as the 33-Stanyan, will have their wait time extended by up to five minutes. Lesser-traveled community routes, such as the 17-Parkmerced, will see an extra 10 minutes added on to their wait times. Late-night Owl service will run every 45 minutes to an hour instead of every 30 minutes.

The May 8 reductions will be the second major shakeup to Muni service in the past six months. On Dec. 5, Muni heralded a reorganization of transit service as the biggest scheduling change in decades. The May 8 changes will be more sweeping.

By implementing the service changes in May, the debt-laden San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, will save $4.8 million this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and $28.4 million next fiscal year.

Due to the immense unpopularity of the changes among Muni passengers, local politicians and transit advocates, SFMTA officials frequently entertained proposals to roll back the service reductions, particularly after the agency unexpectedly received $67 million in state funding.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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