Today the SFMTA released documents which outline its initial proposals for how to improve reliability of Muni and decrease travel times. The proposals are a response to the data collected over the past one-and-a-half years via the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP), Muni’s first attempt in a couple decades to study how its riders use the system — where riders are coming from, where are they going, which stops are used, which stops are not used, where the most popular transfer points are, and so forth. In its broad outlines, the proposals recommend concentrating more resources to improve the most popular core routes while consolidating, rerouting, and discontinuing less popular routes. The MTA board will evaluate the proposals later this spring to jumpstart the environmental assessment process, with the goal of implementing at least some changes as early as next year.
TEP classifies all Muni routes according to a four-part hierarchy, which provides a framework to evaluate which routes should be updated and what sort of changes should be implemented:
1. The Rapid Network: 75% of Muni’s ridership is carried by Metro rail operations and key bus corridors, including Geary, Van Ness/Mission, Stockton, and 19th Avenue/Park Presidio. The MTA aims to use these high demand corridors as the skeleton of a citywide rapid network, which would feature more frequent and faster limited service. Headways on these routes would ideally be 5-10 minutes or better to reduce waits and overcrowding.
2. The Local Network: These routes are more lightly used than the “workhorse” rapid routes, but they fill in the blanks by connecting to and complementing rapid routes. Some lines that fall in this category run very near and directly parallel to rapid routes but provide direct service to commercial districts (e.g. 2-Clement, 19-Polk, 21-Hayes), while others facilitate crosstown connections (e.g. 29-Sunset, 33-Stanyan). Target headways on local routes is every 10-15 minutes.
3. Community Service: These routes mostly serve the hillside neighborhoods (e.g. 37-Corbett, 67-Bernal Heights) and are used by neighborhood residents to connect to rail or high frequency bus lines; the proposed changes include realigning service onto more intuitive routes and eliminating service in the most unpopular sections. Target headways for community service routes is every 15-30 minutes.
4. Special Service: This category includes ballpark shuttles, the 76-Marin Headlands, and peak hour express buses. Service will be slightly modified on some of the express buses, and the Richmond District expresses (1AX/BX, 31AX/BX, 38AX/BX) would feature an additional stop at Van Ness.
Interested in more specific information on route changes? It’s all after the jump.
Some overdue changes are in store for “Rapid Network” routes; in general, shorter headways on all rapid corridors and the introduction of additional and more frequent limited routes that run on extended hours (6:00 am to 10:00 pm). Here are a few of the more specific changes:
- Muni Metro: The J-Church will be extended past Balboa Park to San Francisco State, while the M-Ocean View will terminate at SF State. More frequent service at peak on the L-Taraval and N-Judah.
- 5-Fulton: A new 5L limited service will be operated along Fulton. Local service between downtown and Stanyan would be supplied with a short line service. The long line service would run local east of Van Ness and west of Stanyan, with limited stops between Stanyan and Van Ness.
- 6-Parnassus: The 6 will be extended to West Portal Station and realigned to serve Carl and Cole to duplicate inbound N-Judah service on the surface.
- 9/9X-San Bruno: The 9 will be realigned in conjunction with proposed elimination of the 56. The three different express services (9X, 9AX, 9BX) will be combined into all-day 9X service, and 9X service would be discontinued north of Broadway.
- 14/14L-Mission: The 14 is extended to Daly City BART. Local service would be reduced, but limited service will run more frequently and on expanded hours.
- 22-Fillmore: The 22 is realigned to terminate at UCSF Mission Bay campus.
- 28/28L-19th Avenue: The northern section of the 28 would be replaced with the 28L, which will have fewer stops and will be extended to Van Ness. A long-term scenario extends the southern terminus of the 28L to Visitacion Valley.
- 47/49-Van Ness: As a precursor to the Van Ness BRT project, Muni will run more frequent service on Van Ness and add a new 49L limited service. The 47 will be realigned between Market Street and Caltrain, to serve Mission and 3rd/4th Streets.
- 71/71L-Haight Noriega: More frequent and extra limited service added midday.
Here are the major realignments proposed for local network and community service routes (note- this is fairly comprehensive but not a complete list):
- 2-Clement: Service on the 2 would be eliminated west of Park Presidio, with a short line added to increase frequency east of Presidio Avenue.
- 12-Folsom/Pacific: Given ridership patterns, the current alignment of the 12 makes little sense. Under the new plan, features of the current 10, 12, and 19 lines would be combined to provide direct service between Chinatown/Financial District and Caltrain/Potrero Hill/Bayview, via 2nd and Sansome Streets. A short line would increase frequency in the core section between Caltrain and Chinatown.
- 18-46th Avenue and 23-Monterey: The 18 and 23 lines would be combined, connecting the Outer Sunset and Richmond to Glen Park BART and the T-Third.
- 19-Polk: The 19 would no longer traverse a lengthy route between Fisherman’s Wharf and Hunters Point but would instead be recast as a downtown loop, running on Polk as it does now, but also serving Folsom, the Financial District and North Beach before looping back to Fisherman’s Wharf. Headways on the 19 would be reduced, and the southern portion of the current 19 will be covered by the new 12 and possibly a realigned 48.
- 21-Hayes: The 21 is shortened to terminate at Fulton/Stanyan; headways would be reduced at peak.
- 24-Divisadero: The 24 is rerouted along 24th Street to connect to BART and to provide more frequent service between 24th/Potrero and 24th/Castro. The line will terminate at the T-Third. Bernal Heights service on the 24 would be replaced by the new 33-Stanyan service.
- 27-Leavenworth/Harrison: The new 27 line would run in two-way operation through the Tenderloin, in accordance with the Little Saigon neighborhood plan. In the Mission, the 27 realigns off of Bryant and onto Harrison, connecting to 24th Street BART and providing more service along 24th Street.
- 33-Stanyan: There are two proposals for this line. One proposal completely realigns the 33 to skip the Mission District and instead serve Noe Valley and Bernal Heights, terminating at the T-Third’s Palou Station. The other option continues through Potrero Hill, duplicating 22-Fillmore Service along 16th Street, and terminating at the T-Third.
- 35-Eureka and 37-Corbett: In addition to some street alignments and a reassigning part of the 37 to the 35, two options are being considered for the 37: one option terminates at Castro Station, while the other is extended along 18th Street, terminating at 16th Street BART.
- 45-Union/Stockton: The 45 would be extended past its current terminus at 4th/Townsend to provide service to Potrero Hill that would be missing under the 19 downtown loop.
- 48-Quintara/24th Street: There are decreased headways planned between 24th/Castro and 24th/Potrero, but there are two proposals for alignments. One option makes a Dogpatch/T-Third connection, while the other option duplicates 19 service.
Concentrating resources onto the major routes necessitates reduction in service on more lightly used routes: not just shifting and removal of bus stops, but also discontinuing of suboptimal routes. The proposals recommend elimination of the following routes:
- 3-Jackson and 4-Sutter: These lines run directly north of the chronically overcrowded 38-Geary, and are natural candidates for cuts because they far less popular than the 38, usually being crowded only at peak hour. According to the proposal, the 3 and 4 would both be eliminated, while the lowest ridership segment of the 2 (west of Park Presidio) would be eliminated. The short line version of the 2 would run as far as Presidio Avenue, adding additional frequency to make up for the loss of the 3.
- 7-Haight: The 7 is a peak hour-only service running on a portion of the 71/71L route. The 7 would be eliminated, and the 6-Parnassus would be rerouted to serve the westernmost section of Haight Street.
- 10-Townsend: Eliminated and replaced by the new line 12.
- 20-Columbus: This line, which was introduced in the pandemonium following the T-Third debacle, will be eliminated and replaced with the new 19 downtown loop.
- 26-Valencia: The 26, which lies just one block west of the powerhouse local/limited bus and BART corridor along Mission, is also a natural line to cut. The 36-Teresita would be extended to terminate at 30th and Mission to cover service along Chenery cut from eliminating the 26, aligning along Monterey to connect to Glen Park BART. 36 service south of Monterey is eliminated. Other changes to the 36 are covered either by the 43-Masonic or the 52-Excelsior.
- 53-Southern Heights: This line will be eliminated, but service will be replaced by changes to the 12-Folsom and 45-Union/Stockton.
- 56-Rutland and 66-Quintara: Both lines currently have very low ridership. The 9-San Bruno will be rerouted to cover for the eliminated 56, and extra service on the 48-Quintara/24th Street line will make up for the loss of the 66.
Okay, so that was rather long, even though I attempted to shorten/condense somewhat. If you are more of a visual learner, you may want to just check out this PDF map, which depicts what Muni service would look like if all the above changes were implemented.
The changes are sure to inspire a wide range of emotions, including delight, anger, and skepticism. Those who live along realigned routes will protest the proposed changes, but the SFTEP research process has provided the MTA with the data that shows why service needs to be realigned to favor high demand corridors over low ridership branches. The status quo — which includes lightly used routes and bus stops on just about every block — does not move people efficiently and demonstrates suboptimal resource allocation. Changes are necessary to decrease travel times, increase reliability and comfort, and strengthen citywide connections between rapid buses, local buses, and rail. Executing the style of change that the SFTEP has proposed is a necessary step in the long-term process of curing San Francisco’s ailing transit system.
While the route realignments are mostly okay, the promised increases of service both in quantity and quality are I believe a fantasy. There is signal preempt equipment in place now–NOT IN U?SE. The bus only lanes are not enforced, and witnesses describe DPT personnel delaying LRVs at 4th/Caltrain in order to favor autos. . Exactly how will this redeployment of resources get the 10% plus daily non operated routes on the street? I notice nothing is planned for the cable cars which each spend more time parked than running.
Putting so called clean diesels out on Mission is just WRONG IMHO. MUNI spent zillions extra on the ETI trolley coaches to equip them w/batteries for off wire use. They could be assigned to the extra 14L/49L services in order to be able to leapfrog a local TC. The real issue on Mission is traffic.
I didn’t see any consolidation/elimintation of stops on the light-rail lines or eliminations of all-way stops on the busiest routes. That should be essential if they really want to speed up service by 20%. I’m disappointed the 26 line will be discontinued as it stops near my place and it doesn’t seem like they plan to increase the frequency of the J line either.
Increasing systemwide speed is the motivation behind the increase in limited service — not only will more lines feature limited service, but the limited buses would run on an expanded schedule. On the 14, for instance, local service would be reduced and replaced by limited service, where the distances between stops are more reasonable — although arguably still more frequent than they should be for a “limited” line. Completion of BRT projects will help in this regard too.
What Muni plans to do is to make the limited stop service the mainstream service for the Mission St. corridor. It is not usual but possible. It is already the case in Los Angeles where the rapid buses on Whilshire run more frequency and are more crowded than the local buses on the same street.
Muni could still run the trolley buses as local during overnight hours.
I support Muni’s move to have the 14 begin at Daly City BART. For SamTrans, that means it can consolidate its El Camino lines 390 and 391 to end at Daly City BART. Currently, the 390 and 391 split at the north end because there’s no one routing that could both connect to the 14 and BART (actually the buses at BART) in an efficient manner.
Yeah, the extension to DC will be a nice regional connection.
Not only is mainstream limited service on Mission possible, it’s necessary. Mission is hardly rapid, and cutting down on dwell time has to be done to shorten trips. The other thing to remember about the 14L is that for the entire inner portion of the route, this change is pretty incremental, assuming the same 14L stops are retained. North of Army, except for a couple stretches, you basically average around four stops per mile, which is closer to a reasonable local line than to a true rapid/limited service. The change is more pronounced past Army, where it’s more like two stops per mile.
Why isn’t this happening this year? I’m like there’s all kinds of problems why not start right now
Because everything in San Francisco takes a long time? Assessing environmental impacts and getting public commentary isn’t instantaneous, though.
The overall idea is good, but Muni should be careful.
1. The new 12 does not seem to truly replace the 10-Townsend. That line is very highly used by Caltrain commuters to reach the eastern parts of the Financial District.
2. The new allignment for the 47 is troubling, even though it would be good for me. I commute from the Civic Center area to Caltrain and this new allignment would avoid the freeway onramp backup at 5th and Bryant, and may be able to make the line all electric.
However, on most days over half of the boardings and exits on my route take place in the area where service will be lost. While the 10 passengers are mostly Caltrain connectors, the 47 is much more mixed, including people from all walks of life.
Of note, the 47 connects the St Vincent de Paul Society, which provides services for the poor and homeless, with the Civic Center area, where many of those people choose to spend part of their day.
So under the proposed change, the service for more affluent commuters will be better, and service for the poor in the city will be worse. I understand and agree with the goal of connecting Caltrain to job centers because it will encourage more people to take the train rather than drive (and maybe the lack of homeless folks on the bus will help with that too) but it makes me sick to my stomach that I could gain from this.
3. As for moving fast, I disagree. These changes should be rolled out one at a time per neighborhood, because they may cause unexpected movement of people from one line to another. A line that previously had very little use may become much more popular if a nearby line is eliminated.
These are preliminary proposals, so it’s not like anything is set in stone yet. Public commentary is still welcomed, and so I would really encourage you to write to the MTA with your concerns.
The new 12 does not seem to truly replace the 10-Townsend. That line is very highly used by Caltrain commuters to reach the eastern parts of the Financial District.
Yeah, the route through SoMa is a bit different (to say nothing of the northern segment); then again, maybe that would make the 80X-82X more popular, for the morning inbound direction. And in the afternoon/evening outbound direction, the 108 has now been extended to go from Transbay to Caltrain.
Of note, the 47 connects the St Vincent de Paul Society, which provides services for the poor and homeless, with the Civic Center area, where many of those people choose to spend part of their day. So under the proposed change, the service for more affluent commuters will be better, and service for the poor in the city will be worse.
Yeah, I was wondering about the St. Vincent de Paul issue, as well. But I’m not sure I agree with you across the board about poorer people in the city being disadvantaged. You’ve focused on Civic Center, but changes to the 18, 23, 24, 33, and 48 could yield easier one-seat connections from the Bayview to more parts of the city.
Edit: rereading your comment a bit more carefully, it doesn’t look like you intended your comment to be across the board at all, but just specific to the 47. Not sure why I thought the other way at first. Yeah, there I think they had Moscone in mind.
The 19 will still serve that area on Folsom.
The 47 will most likely stay diesel because the 49L will operate in electric along with the 14L.
I think the realigned 47 will help connect the downtown/Moscone area with the Van Ness corridor. I’ve always thought that the Van Ness corridor is not as well connected to the Market St core and BART. Running the bus on Mission will help address that problem.
I think the (very) early termination of the Clement Street line (2) will cause some problems in the business-heavy area of Clement in the Richmond. Ending it at Park Presidio Avenue (instead of the current 33rd Avenue) is quite a cutoff.
It will certainly cause the overly-crowded Geary line (38) to become even more crowded, along with the California line (1).
I am sure they know more than I do, but ending the line over 30 blocks earlier than it does now? They might as well just eliminate it altogether.
Grape: about 10-15% of daily boardings and drop-offs on the 2-Clement occur west of Park Presidio, so it’s not the case that this line would be valueless without its western segment. Ridership does drop off substantially in the part the MTA has proposed to eliminate. We’ll see how it actually goes down, but the theoretical plan is to increase service on the 38-Geary, which would help cover for the loss of service on the Sutter/Clement/Post corridor.
I’m troubled that there was virtually *no* discussion or analysis of the types of vehicles that MUNI chooses to purchase. It doesn’t matter how many lights are pre-empted for buses, how many bus bulbs are cemented in or whether there’s an effort to get rid of 4-way stops. The new Orion Low Floor Hybrids were a breath of fresh air for speeding up trips but when you have management who insists on acquiring high floor buses — think of those ex-AC Transit hi-floor Gilligs with the narrow front and rear doors. Even our friends down in Los Angeles have a much more modern, low-floor focused fleet of vehicles that gets people on-and-off quickly!
Pvt, there’s really more to come on this later, beyond the route change proposals — not only bulbs and signal preemption, but also vehicles and stop consolidation. These route changes aren’t the complete plan, it’s really just the first step.
Eric, thanks for the additional info. I’m looking forward to seeing TEP’s vehicle procurement suggestions — there just really needs to be a serious discussion at MUNI before we go and buy more lemons.
A couple things on the proposed route suggestions:
The “new and improved” 19-Polk line looks a lot like the old 42-Downtown Loop route, minus the Caltrain Station portion. And if I recall correctly, MUNI split that line into two parts (the current 47-Van Ness and 10-Townsend) because it was chronically late!
The 28L-19th Ave Limited looks extremely promising — a swift, rapid bus line that connects Aquatic Park with SF State and Geneva Ave. But slashing service to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio is, IMHO, a mistake.
How about a line from the Caltrain Station, up Sansome, North Point, through the Marina on Lombard, into the Presidio and to the GG Bridge Toll Plaza? It’d connect Caltrain with the upper areas of the Financial District and allow the tourists to hop between Downtown, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Bridge, with emphasis on the latter two destinations.
As far as connecting the Presidio to downtown: the 30 could be extended to the Presidio Transit Center, but as with the 28, there is an assumption that PresidiGo would be the link, or to have riders transfer to GGT in the Marina. The 30 isn’t quite the same as the route you’ve suggested, because it skirts by FiDi, but I suspect your proposed route would consist of different ridership markets anyway, so that you may not lose out much on just splitting it up. The 19 will provide service between downtown, SoMa, and the Wharf; the 12 and 108 will connect Caltrain to downtown, along with Muni Metro and eventually the E-Embarcadero. The 30 will continue to provide service between Caltrain, the Wharf, and the Marina.
Yes, the new 19 is reminiscent of the old 42. An issue with splitting the loop up into two parts is that it eases partial service reductions, so in that sense I will be glad to see the return of the loop, provided that it works. More frequent and better connected service along Folsom also inches us closer to turning Folsom into a more robust corridor and a neighborhood main street for Rincon Hill.
@Pvt: New rolling stock is years away (don’t quote me, but I think 2012 is the earliest we’re eligible for federal funding) but the current management (which came in after all those purchases you pointed out) has already started customer outreach with the recent test run of a double-decker bus. The routes were publicized so riders could check it out and provide feedback. And as a member of the SFMTA’s Citizen Advisory Council, we’ve already had some conversations about the next round of rolling stock, so it’s not happening in the same kind of vacuum it has in the past.
@Eric: Though it’s not included in the TEP, there is an EIR/S underway right now to extend the F-Line (and/or future E-Line) passed Aquatic Park to Fort Mason Center and beyond that to the Presidio.
On the 19 loop, I learned just last night the Folsom routing was in response to neighborhood requests and though the ridership has not been their in the past, it’s believed that with this particular routing and all the recent and future development it will stick this time around.
I hope everyone is also giving this feedback to the TEP through the sftep.com web site, like Eric said, this isn’t set in stone and there’s room for adjustment.
Sadly, I never got a chance to try out the double deckers! It will be interesting to see the new vehicle choices in the next several years. The Orions have been an improvement in some respects, but not an uproarious success.
Extensions of the E/F to Fort Mason and the Presidio would be a noteworthy addition to the area, but would also be unveiled way after these route changes could be implemented, even for a line terminating just at Fort Mason.
I think you’re right we’ll definitely see better and better things on Folsom, and it’s great to hear that the neighborhood is committed — hopefully that commitment will make itself clear through more riders. Though turning this into a major corridor would require quite a bit more density.
And yes, Jamison, thanks for reminding everyone to go comment on the SFTEP website.
Eric, this is great news. Thanks for the summary.
Of course, not all changes will be popular, and not all changes will be effective.
However, that there ARE changes is something worth celebrating. This is great news for the City.
hmmm…the 19 downtown loop? That sounds SOOOOO familiar! Didn’t we have something like that several years ago? Oh yeah! That’s right! It was called the 42 Downtown Loop! Why I remember it well? Cause it too also used to go to the Bayview! Until some other bastards decided to make it into a loop in the 80s, but, the route was eliminated in 2000 and split into the 10 and the 47!!!!! Why is Muni going into Deja Vu again? Seriously, share the stuff you have, Nat. Share the stuff you have…
I know I’m a bit late to this party but responding to the vehicle procurement issue. If the feds keep taking the bus money and putting it into these congestion pricing schemes there might be trouble. The money for the 5 cities came directly from money that is supposed to be for replacing buses as Jamison was talking about. I can see this becoming a big problem if DOT keeps messing with that money, that is if Mary Peters gets to stick around which is possible if McCain gets elected.
Sort of a shame we can’t dip into some of that freeway money, isn’t it?
Would be nice. I wonder how much of our highway money goes to Texas.
I am opposed to the changes on the 6 line. That route is necessary to serve the hilly areas of Ashbury Heights and should not be re-routed to duplicate the N Judah, or onto Haight where there are already plenty of busses. Neighborhood people, old and disabled people as well as employees and students of UCSF need this line.
–They give voice service to the great “non-polluting electric busses” and then eliminate 4 entire elec. bus routes and propose diesels on half of the heaviest electric routes (the 5 and 14).
–The chief ranger at GGNRA pleads for more service to the Ft. Mason piers, so MUNI eliminates the one line that goes there.
–MUNI touts the success of its visitor’s “pass-ports” but eliminates any service to our #1 icon, the Golden Gate Bridge.
–makes the only cross-market bus (#19) between Van Ness and Fifth a “circular” and in the process makes Hyde St two-way, removes the library stop to over two blocks away (not the first time this has been tried). Making Hyde and 8th St. two-way is lunacy.
–eliminates 25% of service, particularly the community lines. This is probably illegal (they are a utility; would PG&E, AT&T, or the water department be allowed to ‘eliminate’ service to all but the “most profitable” uses.
–totally ignores the bigest integration with regional transit (supposidly 25% of MUNI riders according to MUNI figures) with the introduction of ‘trans-link” coming this fall.
The list continues, but makes one wonder if the planners, already known to NOT live in SF, or ride MUNI, know how SF is laid out.
There’s going to be neighborhood opposition to the 6 changes, some of it drummed up by the Ashbury Market folks who want to keep their current bus line intersection (good for business).
But really, rerouting the 6 Parnassus to Haight St. would greatly increase the frequency and reliability of service on Haight, which is something that everyone in the neighborhood needs.
In the worst case, Cole Valley residents will have to walk two extra blocks. Many will have to walk only one block.
If you’re too old or disabled to walk two blocks on a not very steep hill, you should really think about taking advantage of paratransit services. They’re designed for you.
p.s. the 6 is the closest line to my apartment, but i wouldn’t mind a small sacrifice to improve transit overall
The 6 line should not be extended to West Portal because you have the 48 line just 2 blocks away on 14th Avenue that goes to West Portal. Why waste the taxpayer monies for the extention. It makes no sense to have 2 lines goes to West Portal. Also I have talked to many 6 operators that they do not want to go to West Portal due to already a congested area.
Another thing I forgot to add about the 6 line is that you will certainly tick off the neighborhood with the overhead wiring from 14th Avenue all the way down to West Portal. It would mess up their unsightly view in the area. Also for many cars coming out of the driveway would not be able to see the bus is coming or going because of the hill. Thanks for listening if you are listening.
I am listening, but I also don’t work for the MTA, so hopefully they’re listening! I’ve forwarded comments here to them. The 6-Parnassus changes have already been the subject of quite a bit of controversy, and the MTA is already taking a hard look at its proposals, in light of public commentary.
I hope there is more to come, my goodness it is a step in the right direction but very underwhelming and disappointing to be honest
As a J rider it appears my service will be degraded further as they now have more change to be clustered all the way out to SFSU
Is there any future chance of stop eliminations? Also within the area I am aware we stop at a stop signs on Church Street and a lights at 16th, 17th, 18th and Market. Then about tens minutes to cross Market and line up with the tunnel. Its just really bad service.
I also had terrible experiences on the N. How does more frequent service help when they bunch daily? I no longer take this to the ballpark as it can take literally an hour to get from Noe Valley to the park. They should really consider a bus loop for the special events at the park for the overflow as the service and infrastructure are just not up to the loads
Also is Muni working on better service to the 22nd street Caltrain stop?
This seems to be a no brainer in the peak periods
Also is Muni working on better service to the 22nd street Caltrain stop?
There is some discussion of service changes in this area in the comments to the Caltrain electrification post.
I’m going to close this thread off to comments, because it now discusses an out-of-date set of recommendations. But I plan to write a new post soon, hopefully early next week, on the latest set of TEP updates, so we can start up another discussion thread on that new post.