Sign of Muni progress: rear boarding (beta)

rear entry

Kudos to Muni for trying to address one of the two main causes of Muni’s notoriously low system-wide average speed: DWELL. (Dwell is a geek transit term for the time for loading and unloading of passengers.) The other cause? Busses receive lowest priority for signal timing and lane placement.

Muni’s dwell time is excessively high — higher than any transit system I ever saw outside of the US. There are a few causes of Muni’s horrid dwell:

  • Non-level boarding: elderly or disabled passengers have difficulty navigating the high stairwells found in the majority of Muni’s rolling stock. We’ve all watched the old guy with a cane taking 30 seconds to walk up the stairs. Muni’s new hybrid busses feature a nice low floor. Not quite level, like a subway system, but it is a good start.
  • Post board payment: queues always develop for passengers waiting to insert money into the machine.
  • Excessive stops: Muni has about twice as many bus stops as necessary. This significantly increases dwell. I laugh every time when the 1-California stops TWICE on Sacramento between Polk and Van Ness. Ridiculous.

Allowing rear boarding is an excellent step forward. The article wasn’t clear about the specifics, but I assume this will allow FastPass and Muni transfer holders to board in the rear, while customers that need to pay for a transfer will still enter in front. Muni inspectors will enforce the requirement to have a proof of payment at random.

Keep up the good work, Muni. You too, Examiner. The Chronicle seems to forget that issues affecting our daily lives are the most important to report.

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