STAFF EDITORIAL: Frustrating commute
September 28, 2010 9:12 PM
According to the cheery service announcements on Muni bus and rail lines, service was partially restored Sept. 4 from the catastrophic 10 percent reductions implemented in May.
If you're a student taking the bus or train to campus every day, however, daily breakdowns, overcrowding and excessive grouping of vehicles paint a more realistic portrait of San Francisco's transit situation.
As students, we cannot afford this inconvenience; teachers do not find blaming Muni an acceptable excuse for tardiness.
Consider the M-Ocean View. Voters mandated in 1999 that Muni adopt an 85 percent on-time rate by 2004 for all lines. While this failure has been well-documented and revised to make that goal a reality by 2012, the rail line so familiar to SF State operates with a pitiful 68 percent on-time rate, nearly 20 percent off the mark.
Faith in Muni is at a nine-year low, according to a recent study by the Transportation Authority.
And while the economic downturn surely has had a devastating effect on the federal funding Muni receives, the Transport Worker's Union insists on retaining more than its fair share at the expense of those who depend on its services.
Nearly every other city union has agreed to forgo pay raises but the TWU has repeatedly resisted making concessions. It twice voted down motions last year that would have put Muni on track to restore the service cuts from May.
Luckily, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd's Proposition G pledges to "fix Muni now." This statement asserts that if voters pass the measure Nov. 2, Muni drivers would engage in collective bargaining to establish salaries and raises and the Municipal Transportation Agency will negotiate work rules.
The most attractive provision in Elsbernd's proposition would amend part of the City Charter, essentially San Francisco constitution, to remove the provision that guarantees transit operator's salaries are at least the second highest in the nation.
While passing this proposition will not restore the decimation of funding that Muni has experienced since the beginning of the recession, it will pave the way for flexibility when future economic uncertainty arises.
To maintain guaranteed pay raises when people are struggling to find work displays an arrogance and dissociation from those who depend on you.
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