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Muni Blames Old Buses, Slow Speeds for Increased Delays

A Muni bus carries passengers along Market Street
A Muni bus carries passengers along Market Street
On-time performance sinks, but AC Transit is still worse

Muni’s on-time performance fell to 72 percent in the last quarter. That’s down from its well-publicized high of 75 percent in the first three months of 2010.

At its weekly meeting on Tuesday, Muni officials blamed the eternal problems of old buses and slow speeds for the increased delays.   

John Haley, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's director of transit, said that while Muni schedules its vehicles at an average speed of 10 miles per hour, the actual speed ends up being around seven miles per hour.

San Francisco voters passed Proposition E in 1999, mandating that Muni should have on-time performance of 85 percent by 2004. That goal remains elusive.

Muni officials tried to highlight some positive news from the quarter covering July through September of last year. Corey Marshall noted that buses traveling along crowded Mission Street had better on-time performance — up to nearly 75 percent.

On-time performance lagged especially on the 91-Owl, which circles the city, as well as bus lines that run along Townsend and Folsom streets.

Board member Cameron Beach was perplexed by increased delays on those lines because the 91 runs at night when there’s less traffic and since the others were hit by service cuts.

Even with the bad news about on-time service, Muni is still much better than its counterpart in the East Bay, AC Transit. According to the most recent data, from October, AC Transit buses were on time 66 percent of the time on weekdays. 

“I think it's pathetic that we can't do better than Muni,” said Chris Peeples, an AC Transit board member. “The Muni traffic problems are so horrendous that I don't see how they can keep anything on time.” 

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