San Francisco Supervisors are urging transit officials for the quick return of Muni lines that have been out of operation through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Supervisor Myrna Melgar introduced a resolution at Tuesday’s board meeting with supervisors Mandelman, Mar, Safai, Chan, Haney, Preston, Stefani and Peskin signing on as co-sponsors.
Back in April, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency cut dozens of Muni lines citywide, including the closure of Muni Metro as ridership declined and the transit agency’s budget deteriorated.
Some Muni service has been restored, including the J-Church and T-Third rail lines and several bus routes, but Melgar said parts of The City still have no service, especially in neighborhoods where many seniors reside.
“In my district, we have many hills that have steep inclines and deeply constrain our senior limited mobility community who rely heavily on accessible transit to get across town.”
Melgar represents District 7, which includes Twin Peaks, West Portal and Golden Gate Heights neighborhoods. The 6-Haight/Parnassus and 36-Teresita that would typically run in her district are still out of commission.
While she said she understands the SFMTA is facing a crisis-level budget challenge, she worries that vital public transit routes and ridership will suffer long-term loss if the agency doesn’t act now.
The SFMTA is facing a current $68 budget deficit and a projected deficit of $168 million in the following year.
Many supervisors agree that the timing makes sense to resume Muni service as The City prepares to increase vaccine distribution when supplies become available, noting that many residents will rely on Muni for transportation to vaccination appointments.
District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai said in a statement:
“Many residents in my District, specifically in the Lakeview/OMI neighborhood, do not have immediate access to essential services within walking distance, such grocery stores, medical centers and pharmacies, continuous access to Covid-19 testing sites and mass vaccination sites as the City eventually opens appointments to the public.”
Supervisors plan to vote on the resolution at Tuesday’s board meeting. The resolution is non-binding, but will require response from the SFMTA by April 2.