Fly in the SFMTA Soup?

San Francisco’s voters are being asked to approval two transportation ballot measures in 2022, one on November 8th and the other…..fast-upcoming…. on June 7th.

The November 8th Measure, sponsored by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (CTA), would extend the existing ½ cent Prop K transportation sales tax for another 30 years and during that time raise a projected $2.6 billion. Pursuant to an extensive outreach program and much hard work on the part of the CTA’s Community Advisory Committee, the measure was thoroughly vetted and appears to be well thought out. It’s Expenditure Plan https://www.sfcta.org/ExpenditurePlan addresses SF’s outstanding transportation problems and furthers its transit-first policy in a well-balanced manner.

The June 7th measure (Measure A), sponsored by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA), would reportedly raise an additional $400 million by selling General Obligation Bonds. Measure A, developed by the MTA staff, has received relatively little public exposure but it too cites long standing transportation problems in need of attention.

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AC Transit’s Big Empties

In 2019 AC Transit operated 158 separate bus lines. Some run only during peak periods. Others run just at night. And that might be ok if most lines were running full. Some lines are… but many aren’t. Not even close.

If you find this hard to believe go out and observe the passing buses. As noted, some are carrying a respectable numbers of riders. But in almost every part of the East Bay you will see buses, including articulated buses with 60 seats, carrying anywhere from one to four persons including the bus driver. This dismal sight, which was evident even before COVID, can be seen at almost any hour of the day almost everywhere, from Fremont to Pinole and beyond.

Why is this?

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Kudos to SMART’s Executive Search Team – Well Done

In addition to facing the severe ridership attrition created by COVID-19, the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART) also had to address replacement of their Chief Financial Officer in December 2020 and their long-time General Manager’s retirement in late 2021. With the help of seasoned transit industry executive search experts, two exceptionally well-qualified leaders are now in charge at SMART.

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Caltrain Needs Certainty

The governance of Caltrain has been much in the news lately. Given all the talk, one would think that the agency was in a shambles. But it’s not. In fact Caltrain is a well run and well maintained operation that, pre-COVID, was popular with riders and enjoying a steadily increasing ridership.

So why all the hoopla?

MTC, the Caltrain Joint Powers Authority (JPB) and Samtrans, the agency that manages the system for the JPB, have unaccountably squashed four manageable problems into a single highly complex one that they seem unable to address in a calm and dispassionate way, much less resolve.

Let’s take each of the four manageable problems in turn:

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