Sometimes cluttered with trash, broken glass and covered with graffiti, Muni bus shelters could be cleaned more often under an new five-year contract with Clear Channel Outdoor, LLC.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors Tuesday approved to continue its contract with Clear Channel through the end of 2027, but the freshly-negotiated contract includes less direct revenue from advertising. In return, Clear Channel will provide additional cleaning services to transit shelters and platforms.
Jonathan Rewers, SFMTA acting chief financial officer, said the increased in cleaning will help improve the rider experience as the first thing riders usually see is the transit shelter:
“When our riders first experience Muni, they experience it at the stop. We really want to take the time to improve that experience. Make sure those shelters are clean, make sure they have accurate information.”
Cleanings of bus shelters will increase from twice to three times a week citywide. Clear Channel will also be tasked to clean transit platforms five times a week, including platforms along the Embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf, on Third Street and along platforms on Market Street, according to the SFMTA staff report.
Clear Channel is facing a backlog of about 75 days in replacing broken glass panels and some of the electronics at Muni bus shelters, but the agency has already begun to not replace the glass panels on some bus shelters along Market Street and instead replaced the glass with bars, said Lisa Ising, the SFMTA’s superintendent in charge of maintaining the more than 1,200 Muni shelters.
Ising said to the board that replacing the glass is expensive and labor intensive to keep replacing the glass:
“It just doesn’t seem to be sustainable to continue to replace this broken glass over and over again. We are looking at bars and we’re also talking about installing expanded metal in some areas where the glass it’s just not practical.”
It can take up to 45 days to replace broken glass panels.
Board Director Steve Heminger agreed with Ising that the agency is “fighting a losing battle”:
“If it were up to me, I would take the glass out of every damn shelter in The City because they’re all going to get busted into by some knucklehead sooner or later.”
The SFMTA is also working on a “refresh plan” where each Muni transit shelters will be assessed with a score based on its condition. Board Director Manny Yekutiel pushed staff to get the assessment done in 60 days and for staff to report back to the board within six months on the progress made on repairs.
Board Director Stephanie Cajina said she has not had great experience with Muni’s transit shelters, describing one instance where some shelters had caution tape around them for an unreasonable amount of time.
Cajina said one of her 3-1-1 tickets regarding a transit shelter had not been addressed for over 1,000 days.
With the increased maintenance of transit shelters, Ising said they will try to be more proactive in addressing issues instead of waiting for 3-1-1 complaints from the public:
“We’re hoping that our increased maintenance three times a week are going to identify problems ahead of time.”
The contract amendment still needs approval from the Port Commission and Board of Supervisors.
Jerold serves as a reporter and San Francisco Bureau Chief for SFBay covering transportation, City Hall, and the Mayor's Office in San Francisco. His work on transportation has been recognized by the San Francisco Press Club. Born and raised in San Francisco, he graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism. Jerold previously wrote for the San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization. When not reporting, you can find Jerold taking Muni to check out new places to eat in the city.