Double Down for Double-Digit Ridership Growth
As Muni Forward turns five this year, San Francisco is leading the nation in transit priority improvements. To date, the SFMTA has approved more than 50 miles of Muni Forward reliability improvements to keep Muni moving—with upgrades like transit-only lanes, bus bulbs for faster boarding and traffic signals that stay green for transit. Over the last five years, we’ve also increased service frequency by 10 percent across the system – possibly the most Muni service ever.
And guess what? It's showing results! At a time when national ridership for public transit is down by about three percent, San Francisco is bucking the trend. Muni’s Rapid Network prioritizes frequency and reliability on our most heavily used routes that carry nearly 70 percent of customers. Overall ridership on the Rapid Network is up by eight percent in the past three years. System-wide, Muni’s ridership is holding roughly even, even as transit ridership is declining nationwide.
Lines that have received transit priority improvements have seen even better results. For instance:
- Improving the 5 Fulton line and creating the 5R Fulton Rapid has resulted in a 60 percent increase in ridership since 2009.
- The story of the 9 San Bruno and 9R San Bruno Rapid over the past ten years is similar, with a 40 percent increase in ridership, thanks to the introduction of Rapid service and transit priority improvements on 11th Street, Bayshore Boulevard, Potrero Avenue, and San Bruno Avenue.
Muni faces a range of challenges putting daily service on the street for more than 700,000 people each weekday, especially with dramatically increased congestion on city streets. But Muni Forward’s dramatic gains demonstrate that smart upgrades to the system can yield lasting results that can help riders beat traffic.
With construction projects throughout the city, Muni Forward is continuing its system-wide approach to improvements, with many more to come. Recent projects include:
- Improvements to the Geary corridor where the 38 Geary and 38R Geary Rapid together transport 56,000 daily passengers, the most of any Muni bus corridor. The first set of transit and safety treatments, including dedicated transit lanes, was completed at the end of 2018, saving the 38R Geary Rapid 1-2 minutes per trip and improving reliability.
- Transit and pedestrian safety improvements on 3rd Street in the South of Market neighborhood are being implemented this September and will benefit five of Muni’s busiest bus lines, including the 45 Union-Stockton, 30 Stockton, 8 Bayshore, the 8AX and 8BX Bayshore Express.
- The West Portal pilot project launched in June to address bottlenecks at West Portal Station, a key node in the Muni rail network which serves three lines (K, L and M) and approximately 80,000 customers. The pilot aims to improve transit, traffic circulation and pedestrian safety for the area.
- Service improvements for the 27 Bryant, 54 Felton and 57 Parkmerced lines went into effect August 10. The 27 Bryant is one of Muni’s 10 slowest routes and improvements focus on improving reliability for underserved neighborhoods heavily reliant on transit. 54 Felton improvements offer a more direct route in the Excelsior and the 57 Parkmerced changes reduce delays and add service to a new supermarket.
More projects are on the way, with improvements planned for the 30 Stockton on 4th Street and J Church and construction underway to speed up the 22 Fillmore, the L Taraval, the 7 Haight/Noriega, the N Judah and the 8 Bayshore and 9 San Bruno lines. Improvements were recently completed for the 1 California in Laurel Village and the 30 Stockton on Chestnut Street.
Muni Forward is also an essential component of the city’s Vision Zero Strategy, the City's commitment to eliminate traffic fatalities. Making needed safety improvements for people walking, including Muni passengers, is a vital part of improving the system as a whole. Not to mention that more transit riders mean fewer vehicles on the road, which helps make streets safer for people walking.
Stay tuned for more improvements coming to a Muni line near you soon!
Help us keep the system moving smoothly by contributing to the conversation in the comments section below. Please visit our webpage for more information on Muni Forward or sign up for our mailing list.