As the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency continues to struggle with hiring Muni operators and facing uncertainty with its finances, transit officials said they will have to briefly pause adding back Muni routes that were initially part of a 2022 service plan.
Directors on the SFMTA board in late 2021 approved the 2022 Muni Service Network that saw the return of most Muni bus routes with some modifications to service. But, there still remains bus routes, frequency service increases and route extensions that have not yet been implemented that were part of the approved network plan.
The 10-Townsend and 28R-19th Avenue were part of the 2022 service plan, but continue to remain suspended.
SFMTA Director of Transit Julie Kirschbaum said at last Tuesday’s board meeting:
“I am still estimating that it’s going to take through the better part of 2024 in order to have enough staff to implement the changes that you have already approved. But, implementing those changes is also really contingent on us getting some short and medium term certainty on our funding picture.”
Revenue across transit and parking continues to be below pre-pandemic levels and projected to remain stagnant over the next several years. Additionally, the SFMTA expects to receive less funding from The City’s general fund due to the slow economic return, the agency’s Chief Financial Officer Bree Mawhorter said earlier this month at the board’s workshop meeting.
Besides the 10 and 28R, there also remain routes that were not part of the approved 2022 service plan that also have no return date, including the 3-Jackson, 47-Van Ness and several express bus routes.
Several riders of the 3 spoke during public comment to ask the board to bring the route back.
Barbara Bocci, a resident in the Pacific Heights neighborhood, spoke about the difficulty of navigating The City’s hills without the 3:
“San Francisco’s hills are famous worldwide, but difficult to negotiate.”
Kelly Connelly, a small business owner, who used to ride the 3 to get to her business in downtown, said:
“I cannot function without the 3-Jackson and I’m dancing around getting to downtown.”
Both Bocci and Connelly are part of a coalition of residents and riders called the “Save The 3 Jackson.”
Kirschbaum said she had no timeline on when the 3 will return and did not have provide any specific timeframe on when the agency will resume the already approved service changes.
While there no dates on the return for suspended Muni routes, directors said they wanted staff to be transparent with the public on the criteria used to bring back routes and how routes are performing.
Gwyneth Borden, vice chair of the SFMTA board said:
“That that would be really helpful because I think that is the difference maker if people understand where we are and the choices that we have to mak.e”
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.