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Silver lining amid cutbacks: Muni’s on-time performance at all-time high

SF Public Press
 — Jul 14 2010 - 7:36pm

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency released a report Tuesday saying Muni’s on-time performance increased 2.7 percent for the period of January through March this year.

Agency spokesman Paul Rose, said the current 75 percent on-time performance is the highest Muni has achieved since it began keeping track.

Still, the agency is not meeting its goal. In 1999, voters approved Proposition E, which required Muni to reach 85 percent on-time performance, but the agency has never achieved it.

Greg Dewar, author of the N-Judah Chronicles, was not impressed with the report. “It doesn’t matter if on paper the system is on time 75 percent of the time if you can’t rely on Muni to have the bus or train you need, when you need it.”

Muni said its increase in on-time performance was attributable to a December 2009 overhaul called the Transit Effectiveness Program, the first comprehensive report on service in decades.

Muni has been implementing the changes recommended in the report, which included discontinued routes, service-hour changes and frequencies of buses and trains. The report also addressed Muni’s $129 million budget deficit for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

In May, the transit agency continued to make service cuts to close the budget gap and a projected $56.4 million for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. SFMTA board members cut 10 percent of service, but voted on July 6 to restore half of the service previously cut.

Rose said it is “too early to tell” if more service cuts or fare increases are on the way, but another restoration of service does not seem likely soon.

Cameron Beach, one of four agency board members, said in the San Francisco Examiner, “I want to make it clear that this service change, or addition back, will be the only one until July of 2012. The money just isn’t there.”