SFMTA Board Approves 12 Percent Increase in Muni Service

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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages all surface transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), today announced that its Board of Directors unanimously approved a 12 percent increase in Muni service and route changes as part of the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP). Through a significant community input gathering phase, the SFMTA was able to modify and improve several of the proposed network changes. Along with the forthcoming capital investments, the proposed route and service changes will allow San Francisco to recalibrate the Muni network in order to meet our existing customer demand as well as adapt to emerging travel patterns.

The TEP is expected to reduce travel times on rapid corridors by up to 20 percent, restructure the network and increase service up to 12 percent, and increase service between neighborhoods. A portion of the approved service increases, 10 percent, are being considered as part of the budget for the next two fiscal years. The projects planned for in the TEP also include pedestrian and streetscape improvements, which support the agency’s Vision Zero objectives.

Today’s vote comes after an extensive outreach process and an informational hearing for the Board of Directors on March 14. At today’s special meeting, the board approved the full set of proposals presented, many of which were revised based on public input. Some proposed route changes were removed from today’s plan either because additional outreach is needed or because the proposals are not going forward.

The details on all of the final TEP proposals are provided on the master table. The TEP Implementation Workbook provides explanations of the proposals, including most of the final changes. The TEP project page also has links to the specific routes and lists them by type of proposal (e.g. Revised or On Hold).

As part of today’s vote, the SFMTA Board approved the policies and some projects outlined in the Final Environmental Impact Report and adopted the California Environmental Quality Act Findings as certified by the San Francisco Planning Commission at their meeting yesterday. The Board did not approve all proposals that have been cleared through the environmental process, but will consider them after more detailed community outreach work is conducted.

The SFMTA has published A Community Guide to the Transit Effectiveness Project to accompany the FEIR. The Community Guide provides an understanding of the transit planning process embodied in the TEP, summarizes the conversations that have taken place, highlights the proposals that have emerged, and responds directly to comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report, published on July 10, 2013.

“The TEP will move Muni forward by making it more efficient, reliable, safe and comfortable for 700,000 daily transit boardings,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the MTA Board. “These modifications will bring citywide benefits to our transportation network by focusing on transit riders with the greatest needs, 51 percent of whom are low-income, and emphasizing connection between our neighborhoods.”

“The approved route and service changes will allow San Francisco to improve the Muni network in order to better meet our existing customer demand, as well as adapt to emerging travel patterns,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “These changes have been shaped through years of public input, and they are based on an unprecedented and ongoing route-by-route analysis of Muni operations.”

One of the greatest strengths of the TEP is the quantity and quality of public input that has been received throughout the process. Since 2008, TEP proposals were developed through more than 100 community meetings throughout the city. In the latest round of public outreach from January to March 2014, the SFMTA focused on the proposed service and route changes. The multi-year public outreach effort resulted in substantial changes to the original TEP proposals. Whenever possible, SFMTA staff identified design solutions that addressed community concerns while still achieving the overall goals of the TEP. In situations where community concerns could not be resolved at the staff level, the feedback was summarized in the presentation to the SFMTA Board of Directors for their consideration as part of their overall decision process.

The SFMTA budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15 and Fiscal Year 2015-16 will consider funding for a 10 percent service increase at a total two-year cost of $44.7 million. The 10 percent service increase would be phased in over the next two years. The remaining two percent of the increases approved today will be considered in the following two-year budget cycle.

The full TEP plan for comprehensive transportation capital investments, also approved today, will require new and stable funding. To this end, a $500 million General Obligation Bond is being proposed as one of three transportation funding measures for the November ballot. If approved by voters, the General Obligation Bond will be partially leveraged to improve the speed and reliability of Muni for riders by investing in the TEP without raising the City tax rate.

About the Transit Effectiveness Project

The TEP represents the first major evaluation of San Francisco’s mass transit system in thirty years, bringing together people, process, and technology to better understand and thus better solve the issues facing Muni. During this multi-year process, the SFMTA collected data on ridership patterns and operating conditions at an unprecedented route-by-route level of detail. This data provided deep insights into who Muni’s customers are, where they come from, where they want to go, and how reliably they are getting there.

The overall objective of the TEP is to modernize Muni ─ the backbone of San Francisco’s multimodal transit network. Through services changes that better reflect today’s travel patterns and capital projects along high ridership corridors, the TEP will improve service reliability, reduce travel time on transit, and improve customer experiences and service efficiency. Citywide, the TEP is expected to reduce travel times on rapid corridors by up to 20 percent, restructure the network and increase service up to 12 percent, and increase service between neighborhoods.