Muni's image gets battered again after another pedestrian was struck

February 9, 2010 11:56:55 PM PST
There was another accident involving Muni and this time a pedestrian is fighting for her life. It is another blow to an agency in trouble. There have been serious accidents, fights on board buses, and a massive budget deficit. On Tuesday night frustrated passengers vented their frustration.

Muni's reputation took another beating as passengers did not hesitate blasting the agency. For Muni it was definitely not a good day. Hours earlier, one of its buses struck a pedestrian.

It was on San Bruno Avenue where a Muni bus hit a woman trying to cross the street. She is now in critical condition. Authorities say the woman landed 15 feet from the crosswalk where she had been walking. Passenger Lester Clark was on the bus when it happened.

"I was on the bus and the next think I know there was a serve. Then you heard, boom, boom, boom, boom and I looked outside the window and I saw a lady lying down on the ground," said Clark.

By the looks of it, Muni seems to be accident prone lately. Just this past Sunday, a bus clipped a fire hydrant, sending water into a building and onto the street. Two people were injured including a passenger who fell from the bus's wheelchair lift moments before it crashed.

"The fire hydrant incident on Sunday and today's accident between the bus and the pedestrian are very different but neither is acceptable," said Muni spokesperson Judson True.

True says Muni's safety personnel are investigating, but he points out that Muni's collision rate has gone down in recent years, thanks to an improved video surveillance system and better training.

"We want to reinforce the overall message that the system is safe. We do have accidents, but we're trying to continue to reduce the number of accidents and really provide safe and reliable service," said True.

For Muni riders, though, that message is proving to be a tough sell, especially since Muni is proposing to reduce hours and services to bridge a $17 million deficit. Seniors, the disabled, and youth could also be forced to pay substantially more for their monthly passes. Tuesday night, at a town hall meeting, Muni riders sounded off.

"This really hurts to see this pass go on July 1st to $30," said Muni rider Christine Pyston.

"I don't have a printing money machine and I won't to give to you. Millions of us don't have a printing money machine. Enough is enough," said Muni rider Nelly Echavarria.

The public will get another chance to speak out on February 16. That is when the Muni board is scheduled to hold a public hearing.

It will then vote on the proposed budget cuts on March 2.