Idle buses at Muni’s Potrero Division yard during Monday’s driver sickout. (Olivia Allen-Price)
Idle buses at Muni’s Potrero Division yard during Monday’s driver sickout. (Olivia Allen-Price)

Update, 9:30 a.m. Thursday: The Great Muni Sickout of 2014 has ended. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is telling riders that all vehicles, including cable cars, will be following their regular routes this morning. The return to transit normalcy comes after a three-day sickout by operators that appeared to be the result of an ongoing contract dispute.

According to the SFMTA site: “Muni service availability has steadily improved over the past few days, and is expected to provide approximately 90 percent of this morning’s service based on pre-service data. Muni operated at 54 percent, 61 percent, and 80 percent of total service on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, this week respectively.”

The agency said that buses, trolley coaches, cable cars, the Muni Metro and the F-Market & Wharves historic streetcar line will all be back to business as usual.

Yesterday, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed unfair labor practice charges with the state’s Public Employment Relations Board in an attempt to end the sickout. Although the union denies any involvement in the sickout, the charges allege that Transport Workers Union Local 250-A was flouting contract and City Charter provisions.

The complaint maintains that the sickout is illegal under state law as well as the existing contract with Muni workers. Given the union’s rejection of the SFMTA’s offer, the complaint says, a neutral three-member arbitration board should resolve the impasse.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitrator is scheduled to meet with negotiators from labor and management on Saturday, but that a spokesman for the city attorney’s office said the union’s lawyer sent a letter saying the union wouldn’t attend. The story also reported that transit workers voted 1,198-47 against the proposed contract, according to union officials.

Update, 9 a.m. Wednesday: Here’s Muni’s updated service plan for Wednesday morning. Again, the agency says about 440 of its normal fleet of 600 buses, light-rail vehicles, streetcars and cable cars are operating.

Update, 6 a.m. Wednesday: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is saying that things are looking better than the past couple of mornings. The agency is putting about 70 percent of its fleet on the street as some bus drivers and rail operators continue a job action fueled by anger over a city contract proposal.

Muni’s count of vehicles on the road this morning is about 440 of the normal 600 buses, light-rail vehicles, streetcars and cable cars. Significant “gaps and delays” are expected again throughout the system, though Muni is restoring service where it can.

A few details:

  • Service will return on all bus lines, including Muni’s express (X) and limited (L) lines.
  • Muni Metro light-rail service will operate two-car trains.
  • F-Line streetcars will run between Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building but not on Market Street.
  • Cable cars continue to be shut down. Some limited shuttle bus service is available along the car routes.
  • BART will continue to honor Muni fares and transfers between the Daly City and Embarcadero stations.

Update, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday: SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin says things are looking up for tomorrow.

“We are starting to see a little bit of turnaround in terms of attendance coming back,” Reiskin said. “I’m cautiously optimistic that tomorrow should be much better.”

In the meantime, San Francisco supervisors voted unanimously for a resolution calling on workers to return to their jobs.

“We need to be very strong and clear as elected representatives of the people of San Francisco that it is not OK to debilitate the Muni system,”  said Supervisor Scott Wiener, who introduced the resolution.

The SFMTA is also telling the Muni operators’ union that it will seek damages for the sickout by operators. Transport Workers Union Local 250-A President Eric Williams said that the union had nothing to do with the sickout but that “it’s understandable, given the frustration over how the men and women are being treated by the city and the agency.” In a letter, Williams also called on workers to return.

Update 2:30 p.m. Tuesday: Already worrying about the evening commute? The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency just released new bus and light-rail schedules.

Beginning at 3 p.m., the J, L, M and N will now operate on short routes with limited bus shuttles to the terminals. Also, note that we’ve heard from several riders who were able to ride buses listed as not in operation today. Cable cars are still not in operation, and their lines are covered by limited bus shuttles.

Muni Metro

  • J-Church — Will operate between Embarcadero Station and 30th Street. Limited bus shuttle service will be provided between 30th Street and Balboa Park Station. Customers traveling between Balboa Park Station and 30th are encouraged to use BART or Mission Street routes.
  • K-Ingleside — Will operate on its regular route
  • L-Taraval — Will operate between Embarcadero Station and 22nd Avenue. Limited bus shuttle service will be provided between 22nd Avenue and the Zoo.
  • M-Ocean View — Will operate between Embarcadero Station and S.F. State. Limited bus shuttle service will be provided between 19th Avenue and Holloway and Balboa Park Station.
  • N-Judah — Will operate between Embarcadero Station and 19th Avenue. Limited bus shuttle service will be provided between 19th Avenue and Ocean Beach. T-Third trains will provide service from Embarcadero to Caltrain at Fourth and King.
  • T-Third— Will operate on its regular route

Muni Bus Service

  • No limited-stop service on the 5L, 9L, 14L, 28L, 38L and 71L routes
  • The following routes will not operate:
  • 1AX/BX, 31AX/BX, 38AX/BX
  • 16X, 88
  • 3-Jackson – The majority of stops on this route are covered by the 2-Clement
  • 8AX-Bayshore Express and 8BX will operate without changes.

Update, 12:30 p.m. Tuesday: Muni officials announced that an arbitration hearing on the contract dispute is scheduled to take place Saturday. But Eric Williams, president of the local transport workers union, said he wants to resume contract talks before then.

Ian Sherr caught a nearly empty 1AX bus Tuesday morning despite the Muni "sickout." (Courtesy Ian Sherr)
Ian Sherr caught a nearly empty 1AX bus Tuesday morning despite the Muni sickout. (Courtesy Ian Sherr)

“You know, we are ready and prepared to go back to the table with the agency,” Williams said. “We just want to assure the public that we’re here to offer up the services that we’re supposed to. We’re here. We’re just asking to be treated fairly.”

The union has played no role in the sickout, and was surprised when it happened. Williams apologized to residents of San Francisco, but blamed the process.

“I apologize,” he said. “But actually it’s on the city. For 30 years there was a system in place that helped negotiate or navigate these issues through negotiations. That’s been taken away.”

Mayor Ed Lee criticized the 300 or so drivers who have called in sick over the last two days, and called on them to return to work.

Update, 9 a.m. Tuesday: It’s Day Two of the Great Muni Sickout of 2014. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is reporting that bus and rail operators have again called in sick in large numbers, meaning that just a fraction of normal service is available for the Tuesday morning commute.

Muni reported Tuesday that about 300 of the usual fleet of 600 vehicles rolled out this morning. Transit delays are reported on most lines in the city, and the agency says commuters should expect big crowds and delays of up to an hour.

Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents Muni operators staging a sickout, released a statement Tuesday morning on its contract negotiations with the city. The statement said in part:

SFMTA managers had told workers throughout the bargaining process that any shift from the city’s pension contributions to a plan funded by individuals would be offset by wage increases and would be “cost neutral.” However, even with wage increases of more than 8.05 percent proposed by SFMTA, drivers would experience a cut in their take-home pay.

Over the past three years, drivers received no wage increases and are currently paid less than their counterparts in Seattle, Santa Clara, and other comparable public transit systems. Rather than improving wages and benefits, under the transit agency’s proposal, the vast majority of drivers would be paid less in real wages over the life of the agreement than they make now. MUNI workers are the only public employees in the City of San Francisco being targeted for a reduction in earnings.

“This is a great city, but a very difficult place to operate a bus, streetcar or cable car,” said TWU 250-A President Eric Williams. “This also is a very expensive city and while SFMTA’s ridership and revenues are on rising, the agency seeks to cut wages and benefits and convert full-time positions to part time.”

TWU 250-A has offered to return to the bargaining table — but that offer has been rejected. Rather than bargain in good faith, management hopes that an arbitrator will shift pension costs, reduce wages and allow the replacement of full-time experienced drivers with part-time drivers paid at rates far below the full-timers. The transit agency also seeks to establish a 5-year wage progression schedule that would create two classes of workers.

The agency says its light-rail lines — the J-Church, K-Ingleside, L-Taraval, M-Ocean View, N-Judah and T-Third — are all running. To maximize capacity, each train is operating with just two cars. The F-Line streetcars are operating only between the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf — no service is being offered up Market Street to the Castro. The city’s cable car lines are shut down for a second straight day.

Tuesday bus service details, per Muni:

The 8AX Bayshore Express and 8BX will operate without changes. There will be no limited-stop service (affects the 5L, 9L, 14L, 28L, 38L). And the following routes will not operate: 1AX/BX, 31AX/BX, 38AX/BX, 16X, 88, 3-Jackson (the majority of stops on the 3 are covered by the 2-Clement).

Update, 3:30 p.m. Monday: The SFMTA sent a memo to workers today stating that the agency will not pay workers without a doctor’s note or other verification. Chief of Staff Alicia John-Baptiste also reminded workers that they are forbidden to strike under their contract.

Update, 2 p.m. Monday: The union that represents Muni operators has overwhelmingly rejected a contract proposal made by SFMTA. The proposal would have given Muni drivers an 11.25 percent raise over two years and required that they contribute 7.5 percent to their pensions.

Hundreds of Muni bus, light rail and cable car operations remain offline, and there are widespread delays across the system.

“I think I’ve been here 15 minutes,” said Ernestine Jensen, a retired San Francisco resident waiting for an F-line historic streetcar at Market Street and Van Ness Avenue. After she learned that only two of 20 trains were running, she left. “I’ll do my shopping another day,” she said.

Update, 10:25 a.m. Monday: Muni is scrambling to patch together service as bus and rail operators follow through with a threatened sickout this morning.

Via Twitter (@sfmta_muni), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said it’s seeing “major delays” throughout the city. Agency spokesman Paul Rose says that 400 of the 600 buses, light-rail vehicles, streetcars and cable cars that would normally be on the streets have been idled because of driver absences. The sickout is in response to widespread anger over a city contract proposal (see original post below for details).

Muni urged riders to take alternate service Monday if possible and announced that BART will honor Muni passes and transfers between Daly City and downtown San Francisco stops today.

Limited service is rolling, Muni says, but all express buses will operate as local runs. F-Line streetcar service has been hit by long delays and is being supplemented with shuttle bus service. No cable car service will operate until at least noon, the agency says.

“We’ve called in as many operators as we could to help fill service,” Rose told KQED’s Ted Goldberg, “and they account for the 200 vehicles we were able to put out this morning.”

Rose said Muni is trying to make plans to deal with a second day of operator absences. He said the agency is contacting other transit providers in the region that might be able to supplement Muni’s severely curtailed service.

“We’re hoping that today is the only day this will impact our riders,” Rose said. “We’re certainly hoping for the best but planning for the worst.”

Riders faced long waits at Muni stops. (Isabel Angell/KQED)
Riders faced long waits at Muni stops. (Isabel Angell/KQED)

Original post (Sunday night): A Muni spokesman said Sunday night that a higher-than-normal number of bus and light-rail operators have called in ill for Monday morning, increasing the chance that union members unhappy with a city contract proposal will stage a sickout on Monday morning.

“While it appears the majority of our transit operators will be on the job tomorrow, early attendance reports indicate that service could be impacted,” said San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose. “We will be working through the night and morning to balance service the best we can across the city.”

Rose said Muni is urging riders to leave early in the morning and follow updates on Twitter — @sfmta_Muni — and to sign up for email and text alerts on the SFMTA’s website.

The rumored sickout, first reported Friday by SF Weekly, came on the same day that Muni’s 2,200 operators and mechanics began voting on a contract that Eric Williams, president of Transit Workers Local 250-A, said was full of “unreasonable takeaways in wages and benefits.”

The principal dispute between Muni and the operators — who, like other municipal workers, are barred from striking by the City Charter — revolves around two monetary issues: pay raises in the new two-year contract and a requirement for new pension contributions by union members.

A summary of the contract posted by Local 250-A shows that operators hired before July 1, 2011, will get a 5.05 percent “base wage increase” starting next month, plus another 3 percent. In exchange, the contract requires operators to pay a 7.5 percent pension contribution that until now was paid by Muni. The second year of the contract includes a raise of between 2.25 and 3.25 percent, depending on inflation.

Local 250-A voted on the contract Friday, with members predicting it would be voted down. No results had been announced by late Sunday. If operators reject the contract, the dispute will be submitted to arbitration.

SFMTA Memo to Workers

SFMTA Memo to ‘Sick-out’ Transit Operators by KQED News

KQED’s Dan Brekke, Olivia Allen-Price, Lisa Pickoff-White, Bryan Goebel, Isabel Angell, Guy Marzorati and Ted Goldberg contributed to this post.

  • Sadly, a relative small number of disgruntled civil service employees will cause economic and psychological havoc with a large number of city residents, many of which need this transportation service to get to work, school or childcare.

    Also, as someone who depends on public transit, I will be adversely impacted and do not appreciate nor support this “sick out” or illegal strike.

    David Elliott Lewis

    • Ross

      Yeah, I can’t stand it when people try to empower themselves

      • Remy Marathe

        They can empower themselves all they want.

        But that can’t take vital, publicly-owned infrastructure hostage in order to do it.

        • Fed up muni driver

          Outta all you people that are upset I wonder how many voted for prop g. Before that drivers pay was set by a strict formula and was never an issue. We haven’t had a raise in 6 years and now they want us to take home less. I guess the price of living has stayed the same for 6 years too right

          • ibs

            according to the article, you’re not going to take home less and despite it being a stressful job, if it’s true that the average driver makes about $100k a year, you’re not exactly starving

          • guest

            I wish I made $100K a year.

          • Fed up muni driver

            Trust me. I don’t make 100grand a year. It’s more like 60. And the article can say whatever it wants they doesn’t make it true. I wish I made a 100 grand too.

          • Native SF resident

            Perhaps you can quit your job and find one that treats you better and saves the riders your frustation. I have no sympathy for the muni drivers. You don’t care about us riders, then we won’t care about you!

          • MUNI rider

            I can’t claim to be an expert in the MUNi drivers’ issues, but As a MUNI commuter, I see the drivers’ jobs as very hard work that I wouldn’t want to do. It seems fair for them to be paid accordingly.

            To all of you complaining about earning less, if you think you deserve more than you are making, perhaps you can collectively do something about it, too. It is not easy or risk-free to organize something like this, so I trust that there are valid reasons.

          • Remy Marathe

            It absolutely is risk-free.

            The drivers and the union have zero accountability to the city the supposedly serve.

          • Logic Thinker

            How about instead of demanding raises and causing other people who make SIGNIFICANTLY less money than you to possibly lose their jobs because of your childish temper tantrums, you stop trying to live like your on a $100k salary and be happy with your $60k? Greed is certaintly an ugly thing.

          • Guest

            You still make a lot more than the majority of the people in this city. 60K and a pension. Stop being so selfish. Stop complaining and work like the rest of us do. You make more money than I do, and I fully support myself and am paying for graduate school while working full time. I have zero sympathy for someone making 60K.

          • AnonymousUser


          • Shocktroop

            really? please tell me where you can buy a house in San Francisco on that salary.

          • AnonymousUser


          • Remy Marathe

            I would need $1.5million in my 401k to have it be equal to your pension.

            Hint: that isn’t going to happen, so cry me a river.

          • Dan Brekke

            Which article are you talking about? The one above, which I wrote, doesn’t say anything about operators making $100,000 a year. And that base wage of roughly $32 an hour would come out to something more like $65,000 a year. When drivers make more than that, it’s usually because they’re driving many hours of overtime.

          • Remy Marathe

            You mean “overtime.” Right.

          • AnonymousUser


          • My, the RAGE CAPS!!!!! people employ when they don’t have anything substantial to add.

            I suggest we pay MUNI drivers $100,000 a year base salary, but make their jobs and any bonuses (let’s see some personal responsibility and innovative participation) strictly contingent on each drivers’ customer service ratings. Additionally, they should be responsible for arranging their own replacements should they not be able to work. They get fired if they don’t perform.

            Muni drivers really can’t do much to improve their on-time performance (past making sure they’re not chatting with their buddies while the timetable suffers) –there are too many factors against them that are beyond their control.

            Give transit priority on the streets, even if it means removing traffic lanes, and enforce it mercilessly. Charge motorists something closer to the true costs of installing, maintaining, and policing automobile infrastructure through the restoration of vehicle license fees back to what they were for the last 50 years.

          • Captain Janks

            Since you’re already recommending a bunch of things that will never happen in the short- to medium-term, would you like to also recommend free ponies for everyone while you’re at it?

            What you are describing is largely a good idea, but it would also amount to a gigantic overhaul requiring multiple legislative bodies (the state would need to restore the VLF). Well, largely a good idea except for tying driver compensation to “customer service ratings.” Apart from the issues of whether it even makes sense to do this – “Muni drivers have jerky dispositions” is about the very least of the problems with the system – how would this feedback be fairly collected and interpreted, and not skewed by the fact that Muni in general sucks, though not all routes suck equally?

            Better just to reform one thing at a time, starting with the changes that will help the most – like labor reform and making SFMTA management really accountable, so it isn’t wasting giant piles of city money with its asinine maintenance and work rules. A lot of Muni’s problems stem from a mindset that comes up with dumb short-term fixes like “just hire more fare inspectors” as solutions to deep, difficult, systemic problems.

          • You are correct. I was trying to look at a brighter horizon. Reform is unfortunately not so easy.

          • Captain Janks

            How about instead tying Muni management’s compensation to how much systemwide performance improvement they can achieve (after most of the worst work rules have been eliminated)? With serious audits of the data to keep them honest, because I don’t put it past Muni management to massage on-time numbers to hit federal funding requirements. I have actually heard from someone in a Supervisor’s office that Muni management’s shenanigans are an open secret, at least among the legislative staff.

            The big problems with Muni stem from hideously bad supervisors and upper management, as well as an indulgent SF political leadership that mostly never even rides Muni and thus doesn’t understand or care. I really don’t care if my Muni driver is surly as long as my money is well-spent on an efficient transit system.

          • I agree. Systemwide rethink, starting with management, but extending into the way the whole operation works.

          • sfparkripoff

            MUNIs own drivers have filed a class action suit against Muni because the Municipal Transit Agency,

            “have a practice of designing its routes in a manner that makes it impossible for Operators to stay on schedule.”


            and your solution is to blame motorists and ignore Muni’s work rules that:

            1 Prevent Muni from hiring extra operators to cover peak periods of demand.

            2. Condone High levels of absenteeism

            3. Prevent management’s ability to discipline drivers for improper behavior.

            4. Allows Overtime to be paid based on vacation or sick days rather than actual time worked.

            Once again, your solution for all of these issues is to “give transit priority on the street” and to charge motorists a higher rate to subsidize MUNIS mismanagement?

            Margaret Thatcher said it best. “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

          • I love it when you go off script, @sfparkripoff:disqus because that’s when the true irrationality of your character starts to come through and your argument falls apart. It’s delightful to watch.

            If you read my statement about Muni above, I say “Systemwide rethink, starting with management, but extending into the way the whole operation works.” So none of your points above are valid.

            And yet what you and your fellow “restore transportation balance” comrades would prescribe to solve Muni’s woes is essentially more free or publicly-subsidized parking. Yes, you want to take public property and give it to a select few to use for free while starving the transit system of revenue it desperately needs to serve the many.

            Then you would go even further, using public funds to construct parking garages in all the neighborhoods, essentially encouraging even more people to drive their cars and contribute to congestion and further compromise pedestrian safety. Yet your initiative calls for the city to make “safer, smoother-flowing streets.”

            Nothing in your initiative reforms Muni. Nothing in your initiative improves pedestrian safety. Nothing in your initiative helps the environment or makes our neighborhoods nicer places in which to live (parking garages–can’t wait to have one of those built next to my kids’ school).

            I’ll stand with all the “Socialists” at the SF Chamber of Commerce in calling for market-based pricing of parking — even on Sundays. I’ll stand with all the “Marxists” just trying to get downtown on Muni to go to their jobs in finance. What I won’t stand for is having my tax dollars subsidize automobile supremacy in the urban environment any longer, just because you don’t want to pay your fair share.

          • sfparkripoff

            Laughable. So your solution is to give the SFMTA and other public workers an ENDLESS STREAM of taxpayer money to subsidize a broken system.

            By the way you should have a look at the broad group of endorsements page on the Transportation Reform Initiative.

            I see Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, all holding hands and singing Kumbayah. I heard they are planning something.

          • Yes, they are a veritable “Who’s Who” of San Francisco political might…from before the Turn of the Millennium.

          • AnonymousUser

            Lol is that the cat from Inspector Gadget

          • AnonymousUser

            How can you advocate for giving them more funding when they’ve been on a ridiculous spending spree for the last how many years? Who approved replacing perfectly functional old bus shelters with crappy new ones that don’t even protect you from the weather like the old ones did and require you to bend down like you’re playing “pick up sticks” just to have a seat? Who approved replacing a perfectly functioning and not even a decade old fleet of buses with crappy new ones with unopenable rear windows so everyone in the back suffocates and dies from lack of oxygen on a hot day? Who approved hiring an entire private army of overpaid, obese freaks in yellow suits to harass people for bus fares in an effort to combat fare evasion (even though it costs MUNI even more money to pay these fare inspectors than they’re earning from ticketing fare evaders – more than half of whom are never even going to pay the ticket)? Who approved replacing our old fast pass system with these absolutely stupid and incredibly annoying “Clipper” cards? If they’re in such dire need of funding, how the hell could they afford all of this? The fact is, funding was never the problem. Spending, on the other hand, has been completely out of control and the fact that these bus drivers have the audacity to demand even more money when MUNI is spending insane amounts of money on crap nobody even asked them for is absolutely absurd. If anything, they can re-allocate all of the funds that they are WASTING on all of this COMPLETELY, UTTERLY USELESS GARBAGE and actually invest them into things that people actually CARE about like IMPROVING SERVICE. There’s a bright idea, huh? I don’t buy the “MUNI doesn’t make enough money” story for a second. I’ve lived in this city way too god damn long and I know damn well they have more than enough money. They’d just rather spend on a bunch of useless crap nobody cares about just so they can impress these twitterf*** techies and help gentrify the crap out of our city.

          • Captain Janks

            Proposition G was necessary to fix the absurdity of your pay raises being literally locked into the city charter instead of handled like the compensation of every single other municipal worker in a major American city: through a normal collective bargaining process. Allow me to translate: “Before that drivers pay was set by a strict formula and was never an issue” = “we used to be so grossly overpaid and had such leverage over San Francisco’s city government, that now being merely moderately overpaid and having somewhat less leverage gives us the right to throw a paralyzing temper tantrum.”

            If you don’t like the deal your union made in collective bargaining, take it up with your union leaders. Don’t illegally hold an American city hostage, crybaby.

          • Captain Janks

            Also it’s worth mentioning that the real benefit to Prop G wasn’t so much the money saved on salaries as the way it reformed Muni’s ridiculously stupid work rules, which were also locked into the SF city charter and were one of the big reasons Muni is such a giant dysfunctional clusterf**k. Unfortunately many of the work rules parts of Prop G were struck down in the courts last year, but at least that decision can be appealed and/or the city can try to rewrite the language and try again.


          • Erma

            11.5 percent raise is not taking home less. Contributing to your own pension doesn’t mean it’s not still your money.

  • slinsf

    This is nonsense on the part of the MUNI employees who called in sick, but let’s keep it in perspective as it is one day.

    • Willie Brown

      They should all be fired.

      • AnonymousUser


  • camelsbck

    The grass is not always greener. I bet none of the working people would take a 6 years pay freeze then the raise your getting is not really a raise. it seems like a raise but after taxes and coat of living and the stress toll and lack of bathrooms and no support from management and the abuse from all over. I wonder who would keep quiet then.

    • AnonymousUser

      Try a 20 years pay freeze and get back to me.

  • sfparkripoff

    What happens when the city wages a war on private autos in an effort to push citizens on to a public transit system controlled by unions? The city gets held hostage! Public transit will ALWAYS serve itself before it serves the needs of the public.

    The Millions of dollars that are being wasted on creating “Walkable” and “Bike Friendly” streets have done NOTHING to help the hundreds of thousands of commuters who depend on MUNI everyday.

    Does anyone remember how the BART strike cost the Bay area $365 Million in worker
    productivity? What are the lessons learned from last years BART strike?

    1. The city cannot count on public transit to be there when we need it.
    2. “transit first” means unions first, and commuters last. 
    3. If BART, CalTrain, or GG Transit fails the entire city will grind to a halt.
    4. There has to be redundancy built into our transit system so that the city has a backup plan for commuters.
    5. If the city does not have the infrastructure to support private autos then the city stops generating revenue. 

    Transit First means FIX PUBLIC TRANSIT FIRST. Not eliminate parking, remove traffic lanes, and harass drivers first. The SFMTA’s primary objective should be getting people where they need to go, not telling them how to get there

    At any given time transit workers can call a “sick out” and paralyze the city. Its time to RESTORE TRANSPORTATION BALANCE

    • Ah. Here you are again. Same cut-and-paste nonsense. On KQED, no less! I would have thought they would have caught on to your politicking by now. All you’re advocating is more free parking and expensive automobile infrastructure. Even those of us who drive can see that your vision for San Francisco is ridiculous.

      Here’s the problem with what you’re proposing:

      1. The city cannot count on private automobiles to be there when we need them. Public transit carries far more people, and represents a vital and democratic part of our society. Private automobiles are just that: Private. And if everyone used one every day, we’d not only go crazy sitting in traffic, we’d die of respiratory diseases.

      2. “cars first” means the whole thing turns into a gridlock nightmare. The unions need to get with the program or become irrelevant, this is true. But “transit first” is a laudable vision and is getting us where we need to go, if only motorists would pay their fair share.

      3. If the private automobile flooded our streets, the entire city would grind to a halt.

      4. Redundancy can only come from smaller vehicles or multiple-user vehicles such as transit. There is not enough capacity on any of the bridges, tunnels, or city streets to provide any of the redundancy you’re proposing (which, let’s not kid ourselves, is more deference for cars and more free parking), and so we have to rely on transit and alternate forms of transportation such as bicycling as part of our overall transportation mix. At the same time, realistically funding and allowing for better transit (and the alternatives) ultimately means that the currently dominant, expensive, and highly inefficient mode of the private automobile has to give up some space and pay more of the true costs of the mode.

      5. If the city cannot afford to continue subsidizing the infrastructure for automobiles, then we’ve got to charge these vehicles a fraction of the true cost of their operation and the maintenance of the infrastructure they use, or find other ways to move goods and people around the city. And don’t give us that tired old song about “motorists pay fees and taxes for all of this, so we have a right to drive wherever we want and park for free.” That’s a load of bull. The streets are paid for by everyone, regardless of how they travel, through property taxes, sales taxes, and fees.

      Successful cities allow automobiles, absolutely. But they also give equal or even greater emphasis to efficient, sustainable transportation by making sure that your personal ability to afford a private automobile doesn’t trump the greater good of providing mobility to _everyone_.

      This “Restore Transportation Balance” initiative you’re trumpeting is completely non-binding and simply advocates more free storage of private automobiles on public property. Anyone who signs on to such an initiative should really question their own commitment to reason, reality, and equality.

      • sfparkripoff

        @ Upright biker Oh you are such a drama queen.

        “Private automobiles are just that: Private. And if everyone used one
        every day, we’d not only go crazy sitting in traffic, we’d die of
        respiratory diseases.”

        1. People use private cars everyday in places all over the world and they are not dying from respiratory diseases.

        2. As for motorists paying their fare share fully one third of MUNIs budget comes from motorists. The latest figures from the city show that City Hall is already bringing
        in $247,349,190 A YEAR from parking tickets, traffic tickets, red light
        cameras, gas taxes, vehicle license fees, parking meters, and the many
        city-owned parking lots. And there’s the $84 million a year in sales
        taxes that the SFCTA rakes in to maintain city streets. In fact motorist pay more into the MTA budget than transit riders do.

        3. Your vision of San Francisco requires the population to be young, rich, able bodied, and dependent on labor unions who can call a “sick out” whenever they want a raise.

        MUNI doesn’t have a money problem. SFMTA has a spending problem. They
        also live in a time warp. They are planning for 2030 and we are living
        in 2014. When things are mess now, why should we trust them to fix the

        In November we can vote against City Hall’s latest money grab or we
        can vote to restoring some balance to the city’s transportation system.

        • Oh, where to start when there are so many opportunities to pick your argument to little pieces!

          Let’s focus on the money: $330 Million Dollars (cue Dr. Evil “moo-wah-haha!”) seems like a not unreasonable amount of money to support such a complex and massive transportation infrastructure as we have in San Francisco. In fact, it seems like a bargain. Could SFMTA use serious reform? Absolutely. But that’s not what you’re proposing.

          Your “transportation balance initiative” does nothing to solve any of the the SFMTA’s problems. Not only is it non-binding, all it does is call for the city to reduce meter revenue, build more parking garages in our neighborhoods, spend more police resources ticketing those pesky jaywalkers on Jefferson Street and those scofflaw bicyclists in The Mission, make it easier for motorists to speed through town unimpeded by that annoying traffic-calming stuff, and create a “Motorists Citizen’s Advisory Committee,” as if motorists don’t already have enough representation in the public arena and we have to create more bureaucracy to make sure they’re better served.

          Seems to me you’re planning for 1930 when we’re living in 2014 and should indeed be planning for 2030.

          • sfparkripoff

            You call that “picking apart my argument into little pieces”.

            Someone took their narcissism pills this morning.

          • Yep. You always know you’ve exposed someone’s weak thinking when they resort to name calling.

  • AnonymousUser

    Remember folks, SF MUNI employees are THE SECOND HIGHEST PAID TRANSIT WORKERS IN THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES. THIS IS NOT A JOKE, LOOK IT UP. In fact, on average, MUNI employees earn way more than the typical SF resident. That’s right, they’re making more money than most of us make, yet that STILL ISN’T ENOUGH FOR THEM. It’s time to teach these PARASITES what their place is. DO NOT SUCCUMB TO THESE UNION THUGS’ DEMANDS! They should either have their paychecks CUT IN HALF or get FIRED altogether. If anyone disagrees with me and supports these scumbags, F*** you! I’ve lived in San Francisco for 20 years and I never made nearly as much as these overpaid scumbags make, yet I NEVER complained about it. I still live and work here to this day, making about HALF of what Muni employees make and I’m able to get along just fine. What they’re doing today is complete BS, making people suffer for no reason even though we have nothing to do with this. People, this behavior should be PUNISHED, not REWARDED!

    • Anonymous

      No wonder the job of a muni driver is so hard. In the eyes of the public they are just scumbags and parasites…I guess 100k a year to serve people who despise you so much isn’t being overpaid…although I still don’t understand where the 100k comes from.

      • AnonymousUser

        And why do you think people despise them? You think people hate MUNI for no reason? You think we all just decided that we are going to treat them like crap just because we feel like it? News flash: there’s GOOD REASON why people hate them so much. They’ve treated US like crap for years, and people are UNDERSTANDABLY PISSED OFF. Instead of trying to get the situation under control and implementing some better policies to prevent the type of blatant abuse that bus drivers have been getting away with for all of these years (not showing up to work whenever they feel like it without even calling anyone, being rude as hell to passengers, stopping in the middle of an intersection and blocking traffic just so they can chat with the other train operator, taking unauthorized breaks and creating massive service delays for no reason, refusing to let passengers board the vehicle or not stopping for them at the bus stop in the first place, running people over and getting paid vacations for it, etc) they decide to throw more fuel on the fire by pulling a massive “sickout” at the expense of hundreds of thousands of honest, paying MUNI riders EVEN THOUGH they ALREADY HAVE A PROCESS to contest their new contract and ALREADY STARTED THAT PROCESS BY VOTING AGAINST IT 22 to 1. If you honestly think that people don’t have a DAMN GOOD reason for not liking MUNI, then you obviously haven’t been riding MUNI for a very long time (assuming you ever did ride MUNI in the first place)

        • Jo Baker

          I don’t think people really despise them, but I think it is easy for internet trolls to hide behind their anonymity to engage in insults and make disparaging comments.

          • Captain Janks

            I don’t despise the drivers, though I think they are wrong to engage in a work stoppage and that they’ve gotten spoiled by years of past coddling, to the point where normal city-union relations (collective bargaining, etc.) appear to them as intolerable slights. And I have certainly witnessed the occasional unprofessional behavior by drivers:

            -not stopping for passengers
            -delaying the bus to chat with other drivers
            -stopping the light rail to receive a pizza delivery (I swear to god I saw a guy run out of a pizza shop and hand the driver a pizza box through the window; presumably he had called it in)

            Who I *do* despise are Muni management and the SF political leadership. The former for decades of idiotic, arrogant mismanagement wherein they refused to listen to outside suggestions (cf: Phil Ting having to move heaven and earth just to get them to start the NX) and allowed Muni to become the slowest system in America, all the while only offering the “solutions” of hiring more knuckle-dragging fare inspectors and hiking fares. (And giving themselves ridiculous golden parachutes upon leaving.) And the latter for constantly paying lip service to fixing Muni while never doing any of the hard work or taking any political risks required to….actually fix Muni. Ed Lee ran for mayor as a pragmatic technocrat; he’s turned out to just be a groveling tool of whiny rich people whose problems (Sunday parking meters cost money, waaahhh!) are laughable compared to those who have the greatest need.

    • Jo Baker

      They would be if they can the raise they are asking for. They are not now. It’s easy to rant and insult anonymously, isn’t it?

      • AnonymousUser

        Just because I don’t feel the need to openly advertise my personal information on the internet doesn’t mean that I would have any issue saying any of what I’ve typed in these comments to you or anyone else in person – something that I have already done countless times and will continue to do.

  • Erma

    These disgruntled, unpleasant, spoilt crybabies SHOULD be contributing to their pensions just like other union workers must. They’re lucky, if I were in charge anyone without a valid doctors note would be looking for another job, and I bet they’d be hard pressed to find one that would tolerate the general attitude toward the paying public that is so common with MUNI employees.

  • Racheal

    I am the spouse of Muni driver, if the net income is less than before, that is not enough to expense for rent 2000, car payments 900 and pre-school fee almost 1000 ( they are not qualified for low-income, free based on gross income to pay). Their pay is usually 2500 by-weekly BEFORE DEDUCTION.however, do you know how much they can bring to home. If the family size is 4-5, their children has to buy insurance from their company, that meaning after all of deduction ( taxes, health insurance, pension…) , they only have 1500-1600 to bring home. How does the family of muni driver to survive in san francisco? What is the right of MUNI driver if they are not agree with contact? How do they speak out for their disagreement since they can’t stricke and SFMTA doesn’t listen to them? Some of driver have family, have children, but they don’t have time accompany with them during weekend, holiday or night because they have to work to serve all of you!!!!! Thank about that is it be fair for their family or their kids? Can you use money to buy time for them in order to they wouldn’t miss out anything for their kids? I totally all of you are mad of them because of they make you to be late for work, school… But is that meaning they are not right for pursuing their pay and benefits when they are in hard and stressful workplace? Why do you not complain about the CEO, Manager or supervirsor at SFMTA? They get higher pay but no on one compliant about them just because they sit in the office? Go to do the research to find out how much they pay and how much all of the city employee get for their salary and retirement plan? All of you know the muni driver will reach 32 per hour in next two year and contribute 7.5% plus current rate for pension. Finally, I know city has law that the employee can apply schedule to be Ok for take care of family, So that I might suggest Muni driver who has family to apply and day off from night, weekend or holiday? The drivers can work regular hours like most of people do.Then you have time to accompany with family and kids on weekend holiday or night. Do you appreciate that what they sacrifice?Do you think about their safety?

    • Captain Janks


      Well, for one thing, their spouses can work too, like in most American families. What do you do for a living (besides type lots of words on a keyboard without line breaks)? I find it strange that you suggest the alternative to raising your family on your husband’s income is…divorcing so you can qualify for public assistance. As opposed to, oh I dunno, WORKING so you can supplement his $60-70k with another $20k and up if you are so unhappy with your ability to provide for your kids.

      Moreover, while it is true that Muni drivers do work on nights, weekends, and holidays (I assume that even Muni is not so dysfunctional as to avoid fairly distributing the more undesirable shifts, though nothing would surprise me with them), so do many, many other workers in both the private and public sector. Whether you are a cop, a power plant worker, or a bus driver, you took a job in public infrastructure knowing that the public needs these services 24/7. Or should we just turn off the power grid between 7pm and 6am because after all, power plant employees have kids too?

      It appears that you are referring to the SF Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance at

      The FFWO gives employees who are caregivers the right to request flexible shifts without risking job loss. It DOES NOT guarantee that those requests will be granted in all cases. Specifically, it very specifically points out that a request may be denied by the employer for legitimate business reasons:


      So no. Your husband may request under the FFWO that SFMTA arrange his shifts so he can spend more time with his kids. But he is ABSOLUTELY NOT entitled to those shifts if it means that some passengers would experience a cutback in Muni service, or if it means that it would unduly burden his co-workers.

      • Captain Janks

        apologies, I forgot that disqus does weird things with things it thinks are HTML tags. The ordinance text should read:


        An Employer who denies a request must explain the denial in a written response that sets out a bona fide business reason for the denial, notifies the Employee of the right to request reconsideration by the Employer under Section 12Z.6, and includes a copy of the text of that Section. Bona fide business reasons may include but are not limited to, the following:

        (2) Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer or client demands.

        (3) Inability to organize work among other Employees.

      • Rachel

        I work part-time as social worker in order to take care of family. I deal with different people every day. Have you pay 900 dollars for health insurance every month! The driver make everyone who take transit to work or somewhere upset, then have you do the research for how many they get for managers or CEO?

  • Racheal

    Have you pay over 900 dollar for insurance of spouse and one Kid? The MUNI has done it, how much left for them to bring home? Do the math now! My spouse only provide us lower class life even get higher pay. Because of higher pay, we can’t get any from goverment and pay higher tax. I think I should think about to divoce with my spouse and get into wellfare system which I can get medi care with two kids, food stamp, WIC and go to pre-school without fee, general assistant….At least, I don’t need concern we have enough money to pay rent, car payment and school fee for kid.

  • sfparkripoff

    Dear Mayor Ed Lee and SF Board of Supervisors,

    You have made the ENTIRE city dependent on a public transit system that that DOESN’T WORK! Let me repeat that for the hundreds of thousands of people who waited for buses and trains that NEVER CAME THIS WEEK! San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, The Board of Supervisors, and the SFMTA have made the ENTIRE city dependent on a public transit system that that DOESN’T WORK!

    How many times have you all used “transit first” as an excuse to disrupt our lives and empty our wallets? Will all of the money you are collecting the LEAST YOU COULD DO is to keep our transit system running.

    Exactly how much money does the city need?

    1. City Hall is already bringing in $247,349,190 A YEAR from parking tickets, traffic tickets, red light cameras, gas taxes, vehicle license fees, parking meters, and the many city-owned parking lots.

    2. Add $84 million a year in sales taxes that the SFCTA rakes in to maintain city streets.

    3. In 2003 Proposition K generated roughly 2.5 BILLION “20 programs such as street resurfacing, signs and signals, traffic calming, and transit enhancements.

    4. IN 2007 – Proposition A, another ballot measure generated ANOTHER $31 million in revenue. We later found out that $134,536 paid a plumber. $91,478 paid a gardener. Five custodians were paind $397,764 A secretary $93,155. Six general laborers took at total of $533,100.

    5. In 2011 Proposition B the Road Repaving &Street Safety Bond generated another $248 million for Pedestrian, bicycle, & transit projects

    And now now the city comes CRAWLING BACK TO TAXPAYERS in hopes of passing ANOTHER $1.5 billion in taxes fees and bonds?

    MUNI doesn’t have a money problem. SFMTA has a spending problem. They also live in a time warp. They are planning for 2030 and we are living in 2014. When things are mess now, why should we trust them to fix the future?

    In November we can vote against City Hall’s latest money grab or we can vote to restoring some balance to the city’s transportation system

    • Jo Baker

      You can hardly say Transit First doesn’t work because of the sickout. The two are entirely unrelated. Nor can you say Transit First is aimed at “forcing everyone to ride a bike.” It’s about finding an appropriate balance among modes, rather than emphasizing reliance on the private auto, which, for a variety of reasons, is no longer sustainable or desirable in any way. Continuing to harp on your unrealistic desire for the City to suddenly do a complete about face and prioritize the private auto in this day and age shows how out of touch you are.

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