Thursday, April 08, 2010

why Muni doesn't work?

Living in San Francisco without owning any motor vehicles, Muni has been the main transportation option (and, of course, bicycle!) for me for the past three years of my life in San Francisco. It was $1.50 per ride and $45 for a monthly pass when I first came - oh, what a good old days - and suddenly it became $2 per ride and ridiculously expensive monthly pass which I can no longer afford but burn my fat on my bicycle instead. Public transportation heaven in Japan, I used to commute school with 10 minutes train ride (about 7 miles) and pay about $30 for my monthly pass - who said that Japan is an expensive country? Plus, what contradicting is that the Muni service and operation got worse after the rise.

This is why we need to Fix Muni Now. Supervisor Sean Elsbernd and the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) drafted a ballot measure that will "(r)equire collective bargaining between labor and management to set pay, benefits, and work rules—exactly the same process that every other union in the city follows." (Fix Muni Now) Doesn't make sense to you? Well, this is what is happening under the current Muni system:

The average base pay for a Muni operator — those who drive buses, cable cars and light-rail vehicles — is roughly $60,000, which is determined by a City Charter mandate that says they must be among the top paid in the country... More than 400 operators were paid overtime in excess of $20,000. One operator earned as much as $78,722 in overtime and brought home a total of $146,498 in pay last year. Seventeen operators earned more than $51,000 in overtime, contributing to more than $100,000 in take-home pay for the year, according to data obtained from the city controller.

(SF Examiner)

So what this measure will do is very simple and reasonable; set proper work rules (that make Muni operator to work on time with more responsibility), reform the overly-paid system (that will cut A LOT of budget for labor), and use the budget to where Muni really needs - improving the operation and reliability.

Convinced now? Then, go sign the petition that is going around the city and from the website for me (as a Japanese citizen, I cannot...lame).


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