Muni Citizens’ Advisory Council Discusses Commuter Shuttles, Station Naming Policy

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Council heard presentations on the agency’s pilot program to regulate commuter shuttles, its annual rider satisfaction survey and passed three motions concerning various Muni programs.

Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program

Eight months after the agency launched a program to better regulate the fleet of private buses that ferry tech workers from their homes in San Francisco to work each day down the peninsula, Francesca Napolitano, the SFMTA’s Curb Access Manager, presented the findings of the agency’s first mid-year report.

The pilot program has been successfully increased the number of citations for buses that don’t stick to major roads, according to Napolitano.

Since the pilot began in April, parking control officers have issued an average of 165 citations a month, resulting in an average of $29,255 in fines.

GPS-enforced citations totaling $514,000 in fines for buses that stray from the allowed “arterial” streets have reduced drastically from a high of 3,693 tickets in April down to 334 in August.

Eight members of the public attended the meeting and several spoke in opposition to the commuter shuttle program. Some suggested that the agency reroute the commuter shuttles to the CalTrain stations, and that PCOs begin issuing moving violations against the drivers of the buses instead of fining the companies managing the buses.

Steve Taber, a member of the council, voiced support for the bus program.

“I hate having a situation where people denigrate fellow commuters because of where they work. That’s something we should avoid at all costs. These are people trying to get to work,” Taber said. “We have a transportation system that was designed after World War II. We have not changed our orientation from bringing commuters from the suburbs into the downtown to work… There’s a system change that has to happen and, while we are making that changes, the shuttle program is a necessary accommodation.”

Taber added that he was concerned that added time on Muni buses getting to a limited number of commuter shuttle stops would discourage tech workers from using the Board of Supervisor’s proposed hub system.

The council passed two motions suggesting that the agency hire more parking control officers to regulate commuter shuttles and to keep buses off of two-lane residential streets like Waller Street, which is one of several small roads that a CalTrain report designated as “arterial,” meaning that it can be used for commuter shuttles.

Muni Station Naming Policy

The council passed a motion to support the agency’s proposed station naming policy amends and suggested the policy require that a person should be dead for five years before having a piece of Muni infrastructure after them.

The council’s vote comes after the agency’s Board of Directors scheduled a vote for next week on a policy to name stations and other assets after people who have had made “extraordinary contribution to local public transportation.”

The lack of a policy about naming stations after people became apparent when the Board of Supervisors passed a motion in September to name the Central Subway after Rose Pak, a Chinatown power broker who was a strong supporter of the subway station during her lifetime.

A SFMTA employee admitted that the agency lacked a convention for naming stations after members of the Falun Gong, a religious cult that presents itself as a spiritual group, compared Pak to a Nazi propagandist during the public comment section of the council’s October meeting.

The council passed a motion to support the agency’s proposed policy to require that stations are named based on a geographic marker but that station assets, like Harvey Milk Plaza at Castro Station, could be named after people.

The council’s motion also added that an asset should not be named after a person who had died less than five years before the naming and that assets should not be named for financial sponsorships.

The council passed the motion with unanimous support.

Meeting Recap

  • The council heard a presentation and public comment on the agency’s first bi-annual report on its commuter shuttle pilot program.
  • Muni’s Director of Communication summarized the agency’s latest Customer Satisfaction Survey.
  • The council passed a motion suggesting that the agency installs a traffic light on the 19-Polk line that gives the Muni bus a sheltered crossing.
  • The council passed a motion to support the “Locally Preferred Alternative” for the first phase of the Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project. Council member Susan Vaughn voted against the motion because she didn’t have enough information about the project.
  • The council delayed a vote to update the rules governing the council and a vote on a motion to oppose the agency’s recently green-lighted Dolores Street Parking Pilot Program, which allows drivers to park on Dolores Street’s median during certain hours on the weekend.

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