Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Muni's TEP vs. VTA's COA

After months of extensive data collection and research, Muni in San Francisco released its draft route change proposal yesterday.

In many ways, Muni's Transit Effectiveness Project is following VTA's footsteps, from the initial research to recommendations. Muni and VTA hired the same consultant to conduct their service evaluations (compare VTA's 22 to Muni's 14). Some elements of Muni's route change proposal are strikingly similar to VTA's COA, such as elimination of less popular routes that closely parallel to major routes.

However, Muni and VTA are vastly different systems. Muni's plan maintains its 1/4 mile transit coverage in most of San Francisco, and only proposes to eliminate service in the Presidio, which is already served by its own shuttle system, the PresidiGo. On the other hand, VTA initially recommended to cut service in much of the outlaying suburbs, as well as to the community colleges located there. Passenger complaints forced the VTA staff to keep some of the service in these areas.

Another difference between Muni and VTA is their implementation process. Given San Francisco's politics, it is not inconceivable that some necessary changes to speed service will be vetoed because of some individuals' desire to maintain a bus stop on every block. In addition, some of the changes will require infrastructure changes, because much of its bus network is consisted of trolley buses running under overhead wires. Don't anticipate such a major service change to happen overnight like what VTA had last month.

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