Making Muni Faster and More Reliable Through Bus Stop Consolidation
[intro music] Bryan Goebel: [0:06] San Francisco has one of the slowest transit systems in the country. But there are a few easy steps the MTA could take to make a faster MUNI.
Tom Radulovich: [0:20] Bus stop consolidation is probably the cheapest way and the quickest way to speed MUNI up.
Dave Snyder: [0:26] So, on Mission Street, right here, for example, the bus stops at 16th and 18th and 19th and 20th and 21st and 22nd. Why not have it stop only on the even numbers? You might have to walk an extra block, but so much time is spent decelerating and accelerating that we could speed up a lot by consolidating stops a little bit.
[0:45] Here's how I can explain that best. Imagine a route that takes 60 minutes to do. That means, in three hours, you get to run that bus back and forth three times. If you could cut the time on that route down to 45 minutes, then you get to run that same bus back and forth four times in those three hours. You've just gained an extra bus, at no extra cost to the taxpayers.
Julie Kirschbaum: [1:11] San Francisco has a very old transit system. And over time, bus stops have gotten placed in places that aren't necessarily optimal. So, for example, you'll hear complaints like, "Oh, my bus stops every block."
Man 4: [1:26] I think they tend to stop every block, which is potentially unnecessary.
Woman 2: [1:30] It as so many stops along the route that I'm on it.
Man 5: [1:34] The main streets should have a stop.
Woman 3: [1:37] Maybe not like every single corner. Maybe every two corners or so? Julie: [1:41] Part of that is just, over time, bus stops have kind of creeped in, for various reasons. So bus stop consolidation, or really optimizing the spacing and placement of buses, is a strategy to make the service operate more quickly and make people on the bus have to stop less.
Bryan Goebel: [2:02] Take the 22 Fillmore, for example. Does it really need to stop on every block?
Man 7: [2:08] According to existing MTA policy, stops along a flat route, like the 22's trip through the Mission, should be spaced 800 to 1,000 feet apart. But for most of its journey, the 22 consistently falls well below MTA's guidelines. [music]
Bryan: [2:43] The MTA actually wants to change its bus stop guidelines, but they're not even following their current guidelines. 70 percent of all the bus stops in San Francisco are actually closer than what their current guidelines call for.
Tom: [2:57] Each of these stops adds a little turbulence to your schedule, so you increase reliability by having fewer stops. The reason it upsets some people is every bus stop has a constituency.
Pi Ra: [3:08] Here, we're trying to weigh how to get the bus faster, but also, how to address the needs of people with disabilities and seniors. So we say do it, but do it right. Make sure this bus stop doesn't have a severe impact on people with disabilities and seniors.
Julie: [3:31] We may be deciding between two stops a block apart. One has a senior center in front of it, one doesn't. We may make the decision to put it in front of the senior center to improve access for a particular population. San Francisco hills are part of our challenge, and so we have much closer stop spacing where we have steep hills because it's more challenging for different customers to access those stops.
Tom: [4:01] There's a lot more bus stops than existing MTA standards say that there should be. They never have gotten, though, to a specific proposal for eliminating stops, line by line.