Sunset District

SFMTA Weighs Options for 2022 Muni Service Changes

By Thomas K. Pendergast

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is surveying the public for input on three options to change or bring back service networks for several bus lines serving the city’s west side. 

The 2022 Muni Service Network project could bring back the 28R (rapid)-19th Avenue service and possibly make route changes to the regular service on that line, with the 21-Hayes, 2-Clement, 3-Jackson and 6-Parnassus lines getting a resurrection as well. All those bus lines were cut in March 2020 when the pandemic hit. 

Depending on the outcome of the survey and other factors, it could also involve changes to the 43-Masonic, 5-Fulton, 7-Haight/Noriega, 48-Quintara and 23-Monterey lines. 

The first option is the “familiar” alternative, which would restore all Muni routes as they existed in 2019, although only up to 85% of their previous capacity. The second is the “frequent” option, which would not restore the discontinued routes but would instead “double down” on the existing routes most in demand with more buses. The third option is a hybrid combination of the other two.

“All three of these alternative scenarios use the same amount of resources. So, one alternative isn’t stacked against another,” SFMTA Transit Planning Manager Sean Kennedy said. “We really want and are hoping and are asking for people to give us their honest feedback on these different alternatives…. This is one step in the recovery process. This is not the end-all, be-all of what Muni service will look like in the future. It is just what Muni service will look like under our existing resources.

“For instance, if we’re talking about the 21-Hayes line … it can return as it was pre-COVID, or it can be truncated, or, it can not be returned and not be in operation in early 2022 and instead (we would) have more frequent service on the adjacent lines like the 5-Fulton and the 7-Haight,” he said. “And so we’re really trying to get at how do people value the system and what do they think is most useful.” 

Kennedy said that right now, on an average weekday, they are seeing about 45% of their pre-COVID ridership on the system, mostly due to a lack of ridership to and from downtown offices, many of which have been closed during the pandemic. This sent revenues way down, by as much as 80%. But now that ridership is starting to come back, and with federal stimulus money, the agency has more – but still limited – resources to work with. 

Over the course of the pandemic the SFMTA made changes to several lines on the west side. The 23-Monterey line was shortened to exclude Sloat Boulevard, ending at West Portal. A newly created 58-Lake Merced, however, now goes down Sloat Boulevard, around Lake Merced to the Westlake Shopping Center in Daly City, then over to Daly City BART and ultimately to the Outer Mission. The 57-Park Merced now starts at Eucalyptus Drive and Junipero Serra Boulevard, goes through Stonestown and then south to the Daly City BART station.

Under all three scenarios, the 28R-19th Avenue line will return, and the 43-Masonic will once again go all the way into the Presidio. One option for that latter route goes all the way to the Marina District and the Marina Safeway near Fort Mason. There is also an option to end the 43-Masonic at the Presidio Transit Center, where passengers can transfer to the 28-19th Avenue line and then to the Marina District. 

The regular 28-19th Avenue line was terminating on California Street during much of the pandemic. However, last August, service was restored to extend into the Marina District to Galileo High School. So now, the question is about restoring the 28R line along that route and there are options under consideration for changes to both. 

“All three options extend the 28 to the Marina District,” SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin said. “The frequent option actually extends the 28 through the Marina District and all the way on to Fisherman’s Wharf.” 

For more information and to participate in the online survey, go to sfmta.com/projects/2022-muni-service-network.

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