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Mayor London Breed drags SFMTA over summertime woes

“I expect to see improvements across the board”

London Breed Sworn In As San Francisco Mayor Photo by Scott Strazzante/Getty Images

On Monday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed sent a letter to SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin taking aim at the notably poor performance of Muni in the recent summer months and demanding reforms.

The message, reprinted in full by Mission Local here, reads in part:

A number of challenges have come to light relating to the SFMTA and Muni service. Perhaps most significant are service reductions that should have been anticipated and mitigated. But I am also seriously concerned about the lack of background checks performed on major construction contractors and an opaque process to select scooter pilot permit recipients.

[...] I want to see significant improvements in Muni service, and in fact in all facets of SFMTA. Projects such as the Central Subway and Twin Peaks tunnel project need to be delivered on time and within budget. [...] I expect to see improvements across the board.

Breed’s missive covers a lot of ground.

A driver shortage and the demands of filling in for service through the Twin Peaks Tunnel while it remains closed for repairs has caused Muni to miss hundreds of hours of service in recent months, so much so that the agency actually posted a public apology to riders.

At a Thursday hearing, City Hall trained scrutiny on SFMTA contractor backgrounds after a worker died while working in the Twin Peaks Tunnel.

SFMTA was originally supposed to issue five permits for electric scooter companies to operate in the city at the beginning of July, but Reiskin says they immediately fell behind on the applications. The agency is supposed to announce permit recipients by the end of August, but time is running out again.

Transportation Advocacy Group Study Shows Public Transit Ridership Fell Every Major Public Transit City Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

And the Central Subway is constantly pushing back its completion date and blowing its budget—although to be fair this puts it in a class with pretty much every other major rail project in the world.

On the other hand, the Twin Peaks Tunnel actually is progressing on schedule, but as previously noted has managed to generate real tragedy and serious transit turmoil anyway.

In short, it’s getting pretty hard to find anything happening transit-wise in the city that is not a source of consistent consternation.

Breed’s letter concludes with a promise to scrutinize SFMTA performance metrics in the coming months. She does not specify the potential ramifications if improvements don’t manifest.