San Francisco's Muni bus stop sign installations delayed for 9 years

Tuesday, June 4, 2024
SF's Muni bus stop signs delayed for 9 years
Whatever happened to those San Francisco Muni bus stop signs that are meant to enhance the ridership experience?

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's Muni currently operates 56 bus routes in the city. The transit agency says their goal has always been to improve the experience for customers, which brings us to the question, whatever happened to those Muni bus stop signs that are meant to enhance the ridership experience?

Maybe you have seen them, or maybe not.

It is pretty much what you see. A long pole, with solar lighting at the top and signs indicating the bus route.

Muni wants to make sure you know which bus you're hopping on during the day or night.

These Muni bus stop signs began going up in 2015. The idea was to have 3,600 signs around the city but by 2018, there were only 22 of them in operation.

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Clear Channel was expected to pay for all of them through an advertising deal with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the SFMTA.

But now, Clear Channel is out of the picture and didn't return our calls.

As of Monday, the SFMTA tells us of the 3,600 that are expected to make life easier for Muni customers, only 300 have been installed.

Nine years after they started, less than 10% of the project has been completed.

SFMTA told us, "Both the pandemic and staffing levels impacted the project. We're now staffed up and have continued with the installation."

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After Clear Channel bailed out, the SFMTA had to rely on San Francisco motorists to pay for those new poles.

They are now using funds from Proposition AA, approved by voters in 2010. The measure added $10 to the yearly vehicle registration fees. That extra fee generates about $5 million a year.

Prop AA monies are designated for local street repairs and projects that make public transportation more reliable.

To complete this project, SFMTA says it will need nearly $2.5 million. SFMTA has already received the entire amount.

"Overpriced and pointless really," said one Muni passenger.

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The SFMTA doesn't think they're pointless. But here's what we found.

As time goes by, and it has, a few of the signs have been vandalized, like this one located at Mission and 16th. The bus route signs for the number 14 line have disappeared.

We found an old SFMTA photo of the installation of one of the signs near the Tenderloin district.

But we couldn't find it because the entire poll had been removed.

Along Mission Street, we found another damaged one, barely attached to the pole after some of the screws came off.

These neglected poles raise an important question. By the time SFMTA finishes installing all 3,600 poles, will Muni even be able to rely on the system designed to make the ridership experience more reliable?

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