Muni braces for more route cuts

May 5, 2010 7:00:08 PM PDT
Starting Saturday, service cuts will kick in on Muni on nearly every single line. Some buses won't run as often, others will have shorter hours.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chu introduced a motion to reject Muni's budget. The supervisor have the authority to do so, but it has never been done before, so it's unclear exactly how that would work, especially since 10 percent in service cuts take effect this coming weekend.

Muni drivers say don't blame them.

"We are out here to say to the public stop, we are all in this together. Why make concessions, I say why," Muni driver Hedy Grifin said.

Muni drivers are scheduled to receive $9 million in raises this year and even more the next. This, as the city and the transit agency are in a financial crunch, but riders who joined the rally at City Hall are on the worker's side.

"They are just people like us trying to earn a living, and they have a very hard job," Muni rider Wayne Miller said.

Supervisor David Campos believes the drivers will have to make some wage concessions, but he's also ordered an audit of the agency, including the practice, called work orders, that allows other city departments to bill Muni for services like traffic control. That's cost Muni nearly $66 million this fiscal year.

"Look at work orders, revenue injection, look at parking meters before you automatically, in a knee jerk way say cuts, service cuts," he said.

Another supervisor has another suggestion. Sean Elsbernd is behind the move to collect signatures to put a measure on the November ballot that would change the city charter that currently guarantees Muni drivers the second highest pay in the nation.

"They walk into the table and know how much they will get. They have zero incentive to give on any of the arcane work rules that are crippling service," he said.

The service reductions that begin this weekend will save Muni nearly $28 million for the new fiscal year that begins in July and there are hopes for a better future.

"We look forward to fiscal year 2012 when we project we'll be able to add back 50 percent of this service," Muni spokeswoman Kristen Holland said.

Muni's budget is $750 million for the fiscal year that begins in July. The Board of Supervisors will conduct a review next week.


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