San Francisco Transit Effectiveness Project
SFTEP Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) Meeting
Thursday, April 11, 2007
One South Van Ness, Room 3074 (3rd Floor)
Following is a summary of
the eighth meeting of the SFTEP Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) for the
Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP). It included an update on project
activities and presentation on the service assessment. Comments (C) are captured below, as well
as responses (R) from TEP staff. The meeting concluded with an opportunity for public comment.
Joan Downey, SFMTA Citizen
Bert Hill, Bicycle Advisory
Brian Larkin, SFMTA CAC
Jim Lazarus, Chamber of Commerce
Daniel Murphy, SFMTA Citizen
Bruce Oka, SFMTA Accessibility
Bob Planthold, Senior Action Network
David Pilpel, Sierra Club
Tom Radulovich, Livable City
Norman Rolfe, SF Tomorrow
Dave Snyder, SPUR
Mark Soloman, Coalition for Transit
Howard Strassner, Pedestrian
Safety Advisory Committee
Jordanna Thigpen, Small Business
Six members of the public
TEP Program Manager Julie Kirschbaum reviewed the
status of key TEP project activities. The Market Research is near completion as the team wraps up analysis of competitiveness
factors. Findings will be
presented at future meetings. The Service Assessment is well underway. This meetingŐs presentation highlights
some of the data collected by the Automatic Passenger Counters (APC). Once this data is collected and verified,
the TEP team will share the analysis with the CAC to inform future discussions to
develop service concepts. These
discussions may take place over a series of sessions focused on different
geographic areas, however, once the data collection period is completed, we may
find that the volume of data warrants a different approach.
Two Early Action Pilots are
underway. A Lifeline Grant from
the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has been secured for operator
overtime to help fill runs and address operational issues on the 29-Sunset cross-town
bus route. The second pilot is an
on-time performance study focusing on incremental improvements made to the J-Church.
A major part of the effort is to control
trains that depart early by mentoring inspectors to take a more active role in
interacting with drivers to manage departure time. SFMTA encourages more people
who ride the J-Church at least four times a week to observe and report their
experiences. The progress of these pilots will be shared at upcoming meetings.
Sally Allen, of the ControllerŐs
Office, listed the outreach efforts expanding existing communications with the
public. The March youth and family
forums was the first step to move beyond the briefings, mailing list, website,
and surveys. The TEP team is working with the MayorŐs Office on Disability to
make the TEP public participation processes more accessible to seniors and
people with disabilities. CAC
members are encouraged support these communication efforts, by posting articles
about the TEP in their newsletters or have a TEP team member speak at their
membership meetings. The TEP team held recent briefings with the Board of
Supervisors aides and MayorŐs staff. Finally, a press conference for local
media was held to clarify the scope of the TEP and distinguish it from other
efforts happening concurrently at SFMTA.
The anticipated schedule for
the following two rounds of public workshops is fall 2007 and winter 2008. The fall 2007 series will present draft
service concepts to the public. The service concepts will build on the findings of market research,
service assessment and operations review. The winter 2008 series will present
the final service plan concept with the operations/financial plan.
The TEP team will be presenting an overview
presentation of the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Cost Model to TEP
committees in May.
CAC Member Comments
- SFMTA should have a plan for maintaining the
improvements achieved through these pilot projects. The public wants SFMTA
to keep up the improvements achieved through the pilots, e.g., the California-1
- SFMTA should consider placing inspectors at both
ends of the J-Church line.
- If drivers have a schedule, inspectors should
not be needed to enforce departure time.
- Involve union representatives in the discussion
of workplace behaviors and performance issues, though this may lead to
some challenging interaction.
- Consider renaming inspectors as ŇsupervisorsÓ
and help them understand what is expected of them. Inspectors may simply
be inspecting and not supervising. In the 1980s, inspectors were known as Ňtransit-line coordinatorsÓ which
implies the expectation that they have a responsibility and authority to
- SFMTA should post the commute hours for the
J-Church. Riders donŐt appear to know this information.
- Bunching and not rerouting lines is a major
problem with service, and the J-Church pilot should examine rerouting.
- Ensure that full support for the $900,000 Lifeline
grant toward the route 29 bus exists; thereŐs been talk of changing this
at other meetings.
- While additional public outreach is good, balance
it so that it doesnŐt draw resources away from other elements of the TEP.
SERVICE EVALUATION OVERIVEW
Russ Chisholm from TMD
provided an overview of the service evaluation in progress, the mechanics of
the APCs and some preliminary findings based on APC data from 24 lines completed
to date and data from other sources. Service evaluation is a critical part of identifying ways to improve
performance and financial stability, and make service faster and more
convenient in a way that reflects current and future travel patterns. The ultimate outcome will be an action
plan that helps SFMTA move forward with improvements over the next five to
seven years. Russ reviewed a number of maps and findings that show a Ňsnap
shotÓ of how the network functions now based on data collected to date. More findings will be presented this
summer. SFMTA will be exploring
ways to make this data more available to the public such as through the web site,
and welcomes CAC member suggestions.
CAC Member Comments
- The APC data should cover all street cars. [APCs are collecting data on
trolley coach and motor coach vehicles. Data on rail lines, including
cable cars are being collected through manual checks. The San Francisco Transportation
AuthorityŐs 2005 onboard survey of about 13,000 riders will provide data
on transfers and other topics.]
- Please provide updates at CAC meetings so
members know where the TEP team is in the overall process, what products
we can expect to see and when.
- Regarding the APCs ability to only measure the
number of times a rack is pulled down and not the boarding/alighting of
the cyclists, there should be a way to account for the number of times a
cyclist would like to board, but canŐt because the bus rack is full.
- Similarly, as wheelchair user, I would also like
to board a bus, but often canŐt due to overcrowded buses.
- Consider using the wheelchair loading and
bunching data as a driving force to get low-floor buses.
- The TEP should assess changes in travel patterns
that result in wider use of NextBus technology.
- Look at the lines with the highest number of
transit dependent riders; those tend to be the ones with 15 to 30-minute
waits, not 5-minute waits.
- Considering the collection of weekday data only,
the TEP should also consider some analysis of weekend use on some key
lines, as usage can be quite different on weekends.
- Wayfinding and signage improvements should be
part of TEP. Other major
cities do a much better job than San Francisco, which helps attract new
- The LA12 map is great example of effective user
- Consider color coding shelters for heavily used
lines that help riders understand the frequency of service.
- Consider two types of shelters: basic and deluxe and each would
signal how much and what kind of service is provided.
- Stress the importance of timing and transfer
points, as many lines are feeders to trunk lines. If the feeder lines donŐt function
well, they affect the trunk lines. Leaving early along feeder lines increases the chances
of people missing connections. SFMTA should establish and enforce a zero tolerance policy.
- Please look closely at points where Muni and
BART connect to better time transfers. For example, when exiting BART to catch the 67 Bernal
line, if you miss the bus, you have to wait 20 minutes. Perhaps putting symbols on all
service maps that mark Ňtimed transferÓ locations would help.
- It appears as though an area where frequency is
lower results in a higher percentage of transfers, suggesting that reliability
is much worse in that area.
- I look forward to learning more about the movement
of people between points such as Ingleside and SFSU and what could be driving
that movement, such as schools or shopping.
- Look at the study done in New York of travel
time between neighborhoods and downtown. A similar study was done in London. SF may want to do the same to show
riders what they can expect.
- A long slow ride with a transfer from outer
neighborhoods to downtown makes transit uncompetitive with car use.
- Drivers often complain that not enough time is
allowed to pick up passengers who use wheelchairs. As a result of picking
up wheelchair users, they are penalized for running late.
- Sometimes on-time arrival is not as important as
the headway. Focus on frequency
rather than schedule reliance.
- I donŐt care what the schedule says if I can
walk out the door and know it will be three minutes until the next bus.
Consider a system that allows the rider to just walk to the closest stop,
and throw out the schedules.
- SFMTA should promote the long-term plan for improving
access to schedule info.
- It would be ideal to communicate the travel or
speed time of cars on transit routes to give the public an idea of whether
it is Muni or something else thatŐs causing traffic to slow. For example, if transit along
Geneva is slow, it may be due to lots of stop signs or bus stops.
- Consider looking at capital needs.
- Improvements on the street are one area; another
big one is maintenance facilities, shops and yards. It seems like the TEP focuses
entirely on operational issues, but we canŐt make a lot of changes without
- Consider doing a fare analysis.
- For people with visibility challenges, consider
providing color handouts in a format other than black and white copies
where the colors green and red show up as gray scale, and making maps more
- The 10 line, which is supposed to replace the 15
and serve to the edge of the financial district, should run on nights and
weekends. I live in North Beach and canŐt get to the ballpark on it.
- SFMTA management should ride the buses and
trains to truly experience what the public does.
- Recommend reading should be an analysis of VTA
that showed how political decisions drive service. It is available on
VTAŐs web site, and was discussed at a special March 23 meeting.
- I question if makes sense to only have one
transfer as a goal. Transfers
are not intrinsically a bad thing unless it is raining.