By Chris Roberts
By Joe Eskenazi
By Albert Samaha
By Mike Billings
By Rachel Swan
By Erin Sherbert
By Joe Eskenazi
By Albert Samaha
"Death Spiral" Provides Lots of Am-Muni-tion
Time for a change: Joe Eskenazi and Greg Dewar's "Muni Death Spiral" [Feature, 4/14] is a fantastic article and, hopefully, a launch pad for further discussions and strong support for Supervisor Sean Elsbernd's November ballot initiative to level the playing field with Muni.
The people of San Francisco do not have to continue allowing themselves to be swindled. The many good workers at Muni should not have to carry the burden of public anger triggered by those who abuse current work rules, and the overtime charges those unfair work rules incur for the people of San Francisco.
Riding the vacuum: Being a well-informed owner of Muni is very difficult. As a semi-autonomous agency, SFMTA is exempt from economic analysis of the material impact of its major policy and fare decisions on the overall health and economy of the city. For that matter, all the transit operators in the Bay Area manage themselves as if they operate in a vacuum.
Why should transit agencies receive less oversight than hospitals? Muni is important to the Bay Area, as well as to San Francisco.
Go underground: No one in S.F. likes to hear this, but the only way to make transit in a city as dense as San Francisco as good as it should be is to take it off the streets and put it underground. The Central Subway might not be perfect, but when it's finished, boy, will it be fast. Now we just need to get them to run it to Fisherman's Wharf.
People seem to think that light rail is so European, but find me a city in Europe as populous and dense as S.F. without a metro. If there are any, they are probably building their own right now.
The terrorists have already won: Thank you for the commentary on the lack of access to bathrooms in the BART stations ["Peed Off," Lois Beckett, Sucka Free City, 4/7]. I did not realize it had been 10 years — and still no threat of terrorism in the latrines!
I am a San Francisco native who was and still is proud of the light rail system traversing our bay. I am also a middle-aged commuter who has developed a new appreciation for easy access to such personal facilities. I have to agree that the excuse about safety is a bunch of crap — much of which can be found on the toilets, walls, and floors of the stations that are accessible. I am more afraid of the threat these unsanitary conditions present.
Yesterday I had to change the diaper of my 1-year-old grandson in the Richmond station restroom. (And this is one of the nicer stations.) I had to remove his jacket and place it on the nasty floor, along with a plastic bag I just happened to have so that I could lay him down for the change. There were no paper towels available (only the blow dryer), and no place to hang my purse or bags. I did not dare use the urine- and blood-spattered toilet myself, even though I needed to.
I understand [spokesman] Linton [Johnson]'s comments on behalf of BART, but the plain truth is that if anyone wanted to attack the system at any station, he or she would merely pay the fare and get on a train. Heck, there's nothing even stopping a person from walking into the tunnel! But the transmission of virulent contagion is a real threat faced every day by patrons of BART, which boasts one of the highest operating budgets in the state.
It seems that BART's safety budget (as it exists) is loosely designed for the protection of the equipment, and less so for the physical health of its patrons.
In our April 14 cover story, "The Muni Death Spiral," by Joe Eskenazi and Greg Dewar, we wrote how Muni rules allow "multiple unplanned leaves for drivers. With no warning, operators can simply not show up for their shifts. And, yes, they still get paid."
In fact, drivers who out-and-out blow off their shifts will not get paid. However, drivers who call in with excuses for their absence are under no obligation to call a supervisor again for days on end until they return to work, creating scheduling nightmares for management in the interim. In this scenario, drivers are still paid.
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