Letters

Third World Transit Beats Muni
I want to thank SF Weekly for providing me with that rarest of San Francisco experiences -- actually finding news in a San Francisco paper. I'm referring specifically to Peter Byrne's pieces on Muni ("Rewarding Failure," Dec. 2 and Dec. 9), the most pathetic mass transit system in the U.S. and one of the worst in the world, including most of the Third World cities I've been to .

Why has it taken so long for someone to get to the bottom of this problem? Keep up the good work.

Ken McCarthy
Pacific Heights

L.A. Transit Beats Muni
Thank God! I have long despaired about the problems of public transit in Los Angeles. Your article on Muni ("Rewarding Failure") gives me hope -- L.A.'s transit system would have to get much worse before it comes close to being like Muni. Thanks for cheering me up.

Dana Gabbard
Via Internet

Chicago Transit Beats Muni
Muni is one of the chief reasons I moved to Chicago, and I am thankful for it ("Rewarding Failure"). I haven't bothered to run for a train since I moved here. If you miss it, so what. There will be another in three minutes or less. That's the way public transit is supposed to be. Sure it has its faults, but the CTA is head and shoulders above Muni for reliability and efficiency.

When my Chicago friends crab, I tell them, "Yes, but it could be so much worse." My advice to the disgusted -- leave. San Francisco is nice, but there is better. Chicago is the best. This city works.

Robert Coates
Via Internet

Even Dutch Transit Beats Muni
I am a lifetime Bay Area resident, but all I know of local public transportation is what I read in the papers. I had just returned from a brief vacation in Utrecht, the Netherlands, when I read Peter Byrne's article on the Muni gravy train ("Rewarding Failure"). I tried to make comparisons between what I've read about Muni over the years and what I've recently experienced with public transportation in Utrecht and Amsterdam.

Dutch transit-authority workers, who operate the tram, train, and bus systems in Holland, seem to have a Spartan but heavily utilized and efficient system which is underlined by a general sense of goodwill and courtesy displayed by both the operators and their passengers. On the inner-city tram, passengers are expected to enter the door of their choosing and to then either pay the operator directly during a stop or to find one of a few meter machines on board and stamp their own ticket. As someone who knows little about public transportation, I found the manner in which this system ran to be relatively relaxing, fairly priced, easy to understand, prompt and friendly. In short, it took a lot of stress out of travel.

I'm glad your reporter, Peter Byrne, is here to remind those who seem to have forgotten that Muni operations are supposed to represent jobs, not honorary positions. Maybe one way to get Muni on a roll would be to get a few heads rolling first.

Ken Richard
Via Internet

But Muni Beats Dead Pigs
I enjoyed reading your article on Muni problems ("Rewarding Failure"). It was the first time I picked up SF Weekly since your article on pig hunting ("How to Stalk, Kill, and Cook a California Wild Pig,'' Sept. 2), which I thought was so revolting, particularly the "pornographic" pictures of disemboweled pigs, that I decided to put the paper down for a while.

I hope you continue to have articles about what matters to San Franciscans instead of crap that wouldn't even make it on local TV news.

Steve Cohn
Via Internet

Breda's Rolling Bombs
Thank you Peter Byrne for the bold Breda expose ("Rewarding Failure"). I do not take Muni, but the new streetcars have ruined my life. Each passing Breda sounds like a bomb being dropped as my apartment rumbles and shakes. (My computer screen actually quivers, the pots on the stove rattle, etc.) Earplugs help assuage the whining engine noise, but it's like living in a war zone.

When will the city extricate Booz Allen from this Muni plot before the entire city caves in?

John D'Hondt
Via Internet

Move to Willie
Bravo for Peter Byrne's writing style -- powerful, eloquent, and eminently readable ("Rewarding Failure"). Helluva lot better than reading government reports. The information contained in his two-part series would have normally cost the city $50 million if they had hired a consultant. Much of the information for the series could also be located in the voter-approved and Republican-supported Muni Audit that was passed by the voters some four years ago. However, that report, like the Muni Grand Jury reports, have found their way into the Transport Workers' Union recycling bin. And with a complicit Board of Supervisors cowering to the unions, don't hold your breath for any changes in our lifetime.

It seems to me that the woes of Muni are too much for an entrenched political establishment to handle. I say, consider privatizing certain routes and lines. You'll notice service increase, not decrease, with competition. It's the law.

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