Jeffrey Tumlin selected as new SFMTA director of transportation

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco has a new Transportation Director. Mayor London Breed introduced Jeffrey Tumlin today at City Hall-- and she expects great things from him.

"We need to do better," said San Francisco Mayor London Breed, referring to the City's massive transportation system.

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That's the reality of public transportation in the city-- and the challenge facing the new transportation director. But Tumlin says he's ready.

"I've long been a rather outspoken proponent of changing core practices in my industry."

Tumlin says his first task is to listen.

Tumlin doesn't know all the answers yet but will likely get an earful.

E-scooters and bike shares are proliferating, as are ride shares. Muni bus and train service are strained deferred maintenance and infrastructure repairs overdue. Even the new rail cars have design issues.

And there's the lack of parking.

Nowhere is that more evident than on Van ness Avenue, where a project to build express bus and traffic lanes is years behind schedule.

The construction has driven small business owners there out of business. Abdulhamid Albadani may lose his market as well.

"Almost 60 percent of the business is gone."

All these issues facing the new transportation czar-- not to mention a labor shortage of muni operators. Last year alone there were 400 vacant positions.

Tumlin says that's a critical problem.

"I want to have a conversation about how do we make sure that we are paying every SFMTA employee a living wage."

We asked Muni riders what message they'd like to send Tumlin.

"I'd like the busses to come at regular intervals rather than have chaotic timing," said Muni rider Helen Strain.

"They're always breaking down. That's one thing," said another Muni rider who wanted to be identified only as "Mary."

"Just the quality of service overall I'd improve," said David Boyll, who also rides the Muni regularly.

Tumlin says there are also "a hundred small projects" that he wants to deliver that will make a difference in the day to day service for riders. That in turn, he says will be the fastest way to rebuild trust.

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