Sunday, November 18, 2012

Back In The Days...

Back in the Days…

Learning a little about Muni’s history will allow us to know how Muni’s system works.  Muni was originally owned by private companies in the 19th century, but starting in 1952, Muni was completely owned and run by San Francisco.
Muni in the 19th Century 

Currently, Muni now has 54 bus lines, 17 trolley bus lines, 7 light rail lines, and 3 cable car lines.

Back then, the average speed of buses was 8.5 miles per hour, and today, the average speed is 8.1 miles per hour. The buses today are slower than the buses a century ago!

The first Muni trolleys were introduced in 1941, and became the foundation of the Metro we see today.

A New Muni Trolley Pulling an Old Trolley.

Believe it or not, Muni has considered a rapid transit to be built around San Francisco, but sadly, the proposal did not pass. Well, at least we still have Bart, but I think if Muni has a rapid transit too, there would be more stops across San Francisco, and maybe one of it could be at the front of San Francisco State University? J

Proposed Muni Rapid Transit

On November 2007, Muni thought about adding double decker buses to the Muni fleet to make buses less crowded, but it did not happen. If it were to happen, it would definitely make buses less crowded during the mornings and the afternoon.

Also in 2007, hybrid buses were introduced to the Muni fleet, making less pollution for our environment. (See my previous post, New Buses, Old Buses).

Just recently, Muni introduced the All Boarding system, which means that as long as you have a valid proof of payment, you can board through the front door or through the back door. (If you do not know the types of proof of payments, please read my previous blog: Risk it and a Ticket).

I found a very cool YouTube clip about Muni in the 1980’s, and the link is here:!

We care the most about fares because that is the thing that affects us the most, so will now list some interesting fare facts:

1912 – Fares costs only 5₵, but back then, with 5 cents, you can buy a loaf of bread!
1974 – Muni monthly passes were introduced for $11.
1992 – Fare costs $1
2003 – Fare increases to $1.25
2005 – Fare increases again to $1.50
2009 – Fare increases to present day $2

As you can tell, Muni fares have been increasing for a long time, and Muni is also improving by providing better services. Over these years, costs of operating a transit agency are increasing, so they had to increase their fares to adapt. Muni has changed dramatically over the century, providing us with services suitable to our lifestyles. Do you have some interesting facts about Muni’s history that you want to share? Comment below!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Are We There Yet?


We need Muni to be a reliable public transportation that will get us to our destination on time. If Muni cannot comply with that, then people will not ride Muni anymore. Muni tries to improve accuracy by installing GPS systems into the buses so that we can track when the bus will come. I find that being able to track when the bus will come is a good improvement, but sometimes it lacks accuracy.

For example, I was waiting for an outbound 27 bus, and the LCD display at the bus stop displayed that the bus will arrive after 9 minutes. And so I waited, but after 10 minutes, the display still read 8 minutes. After another 5 minutes, the bus finally came.

LCD Display of Next Muni to Arrive
Sometimes unexpected things come up, and I have experienced it. One day, very recently, an old man sitting in the front of the bus was a little bit unconscious because of the heat. He needed medical attention immediately, and so the bus stopped at 24th and Mission. The driver told us that we all had to get off and had to wait for the next bus that comes in 15 minutes.

The ambulance came shortly after the driver talked to the operator and the passengers rode the next bus. Of course, the bus was more cramped than usual, and people waiting at other stops also had to wait twice the time of the usual wait.

These incidents happen more than once, and it is hard to avoid. In 1999, San Francisco residents passed a ballot to make Muni to be on-time for 85% overall (The Bay Citizen). In August 2012, however, the accuracy of Muni dropped to 57.2% (SF Examiner).

So how exactly can I get to school on time with Muni coming late almost half of the time? What is causing Muni to be late?
Buses come late mainly because Muni is short of drivers, operators, and need newer buses that don’t break down.
It’d be easy to fix all of these problems, such as hiring more operators and training new drivers.

A New Driver in Training

However, these all cost huge amounts of money, and over all these years, Muni had several cutbacks on funding. We should be considerate about their current budget. But even though they had their budget cut, they still bought new buses that will go into use a little later (See my blog: New Buses, Old Buses).

With the new buses, I’m sure that there will be less incidents of having to fix buses, therefore improving their timeliness. More buses will be on the streets to carry passengers around San Francisco.

Do you have some comments about the accuracy of Muni? Comment below!