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40 percent of Muni vehicles run late

About 60 percent of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s buses, trains and trolleys on 68 routes arrived on schedule during the last six months of 2011 – despite Muni’s claim that its vehicles were on schedule roughly 72 percent of the time – according to a Bay Citizen analysis of the transit agency's on-time performance data.

The map below displays the rates of on-time, late and early vehicles for those routes during that time period. 

Click on the map below to look at each route and tell us what you think: Does your bus take too long or just the right amount of time? Do you think the agency's proposed changes will affect your daily commute?

Click on the “See Rates by Route” button to see a table of all the routes sorted by on-time rates. Click the “Show Chart” button to see how many routes fall inside a range of on-time rates.

Earlier this month, The Bay Citizen reported that Muni defined on-time vehicles as those arriving at a stop no more than one minute early or 4 minutes, 59 seconds late. By using that elongated definition of a minute, the transit agency had inflated its on-time performance rates for months.

The Bay Citizen obtained the data from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency through a public records request.

Muni claimed its vehicles were on schedule roughly 72 percent of the time during the last half of 2011.

The Bay Citizen defines "on time" based on the definition in the City Charter: A Muni vehicle is on time if arrives at a stop no more than one minute early or four minutes late.

According to San Francisco's City Charter, 85 percent of Muni vehicles should run on schedule. But the transit agency has never reached that target, which was established in 1999.

Muni has said on-time performance can vary greatly from route to route. On some heavily used routes – like the N-Judah, which carries more than 45,000 passengers a day – nearly half of the vehicles arrive either early or late, according to The Bay Citizen's analysis.

In August, Muni will begin measuring some routes according to "headway" – the amount of time between two vehicles arriving at the same stop – but many routes still will be measured by their on-time rates. By maintaining headway, the agency can keep buses from following each other too closely, and riders can be sure a bus will arrive at their stops every seven minutes, for example.

The agency is also considering community feedback as part of its Transit Effectiveness Project, which aims to reduce delays by eliminating stops, replacing stop signs and adding bus-only lanes, among other changes.

The project’s estimated time improvements are shown in the table below. Read more about specific improvements at the SFMTA website.

Route Daily Ridership Estimated Time Reduction
N-Judah 45,252 11 minutes
J-Church 16,695 6.5 minutes
8x NA 14 minutes
30-Stockton 22,124 7 minutes
28-19th Avenue 9,689 10 minutes
22-Fillmore 18,892 12 minutes
14-Mission 32,849 16-20 minutes
5-Fulton 14,039 12 minutes

Map tiles by Stamen Design, under CC BY 3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under CC BY SA.

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