Last Friday, SFMTA announced a new feature on its Muni smartphone app that allows riders to rate the quality of transit service in San Francisco.
App users will be able to rate rides via their phones, giving positive or negative marks across five categories. SFMTA spokesperson Cristina Padilla explains the process via the agency blog:
To rate your ride, select the Muni line you rode on, provide the specific vehicle number if available (optional), then give a thumbs up or down rating based on five different categories—travel time, vehicle condition, comfortable ride, rider etiquette and employee courtesy.
[...] The more information we have, the better we can triangulate specific issues and trends. If used extensively, we envision creating “heat maps” and dashboards that will allow us to track customer satisfaction by Muni route and area of the city.
But for now the app is a general tool for marking rider satisfaction—or lack thereof, in the case of consistently troubled routes.
The app doesn’t allow for detailed feedback beyond the simple up or down rating. As SF Weekly points out, while it’s easy to mistake this feature for a new app entirely, the general Muni app has existed for some time.
Despite a general culture of complaints about Muni and how often its frequent infrequency generates headlines, SFTMA’s latest rider survey released in December 2016 said that of the 543 people polled, 70 percent rated service “Good” or “Excellent” overall.
The last time that same rating dipped below 50 percent was in 2001. On the other hand, more ambiguous separate polls found that only 38 percent of riders in Q3 of the last fiscal year said they were at least “satisfied” with service, while 35 percent described their feelings as merely “neutral.”
Predictably, the biggest gripes are about reliability, with which nearly 40 percent of riders called themselves “dissatisfied” with Muni in Q4 versus only 32 percent who are at least “satisfied,” and with service.