Nat Ford's Legacy

Muni transports 700,000 riders a day, and every one of them's a critic.

Local passengers — and journalists — come to bury Muni, not praise it. But it warrants mentioning that the journeys locals see fit to complain about to their friends and coworkers would have been inconceivable to undertake in much of the nation. Muni will get you there. It ain't rapid, but it is transit.

Assessing departing Muni CEO Nat Ford's legacy, then, is difficult. Few people without the initials BHO have a more difficult job — and a more demanding public. And throughout Ford's five-and-a-half year tenure atop Muni he dealt with shrinking budgets, meddlesome politicians, and out-and-out theft from the state.

“He was there when Muni went through its biggest series of cuts in my 20-year memory,” says transit expert Michael Kiesling. “Whether those cuts were done well or poorly is up to debate.”

When asked his own opinion, Kiesling replied, “I have a scooter now.”

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