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70% of riders say they’re happy with Muni

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That’s an all-time record, and probably a surprise for anyone who rides Muni

A train pulling into West Portal Station Pung /

Complaining about Muni is as storied as San Francisco traditions come, but it seems even this old cultural standby is in danger these days.

The SFMTA’s 2016 rider survey found that 70 percent of Muni riders rate the transit network overall as either “excellent” or “good.” Only five percent gave it poor marks.

Ekaterina Pokrovsky

That’s the highest approval rating ever recorded, since the city began conducting the survey in 2001, breaking the previous record of 68 percent in 2004. Last year it was 66 percent.

This was a phone survey of 543 riders, conducted over about seven weeks between July and August of this year.

If the numbers seem rosier than you would have assumed, it’s worth noting that riders have always given Muni at least fair marks on the annual poll.

Only once, way back in 2001, were those with a generally unfavorable view of the city’s workhorse transit operation in the majority.

Generally, scores are better among people who use the service the least. But 66 percent of daily riders still have a positive outlook on their trip, so the difference isn’t enough to really matter.

Only 56 percent of respondents say that their bus is usually on time. Which of course is a majority and a six percent improvement since 2014, but still not a great figure.

Even so, riders don’t seem to mind as much as they used to. Only 15 percent of people cited better on-time figures as the most important improvement they want to see.

Compare this to 2011, when that same figure was 26 percent, and timeliness was rider’s number one concern.

These days it’s number three. Riders this year were more worried about frequency of service and crowding.

In fact, it looks like crowding fears are what should concern Muni the most. Only 35 percent of riders think SFMTA is doing a good job relieving crowds, the one black spot in a sea of mostly sunny feedback.