Navigation of San Francisco via bus can get pretty tricky. There are a lot of numbers and letters to remember and the thought of, “Wait, am I going inbound or outbound? Is the last bus coming at midnight or at 1:00 a.m.?” tends to crop up at the worst possible time. In May, San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) complicated Muni (the shortened name for the bus system) a little bit more by cutting lines and reducing the frequency of many routes.
Members of the Foghorn staff, a miniscule percentage of the USF student body, live in several different neighborhoods in the city and many of us use Muni to get to and from campus. It is our understanding that the majority of USF students, not just our staff, use Muni daily. The cuts to Muni services in May certainly left us a little worried. If more OWL (late-night) lines are cut, what will students with late classes or meetings do to get home? Public safety will not drive students past the Panhandle, leaving anyone who lives more than 3 blocks south of campus without a way to get home. USF students desperately need Muni to cover the areas of the city that public safety does not.
Luckily, last weekend SFMTA restored several OWL lines and increased frequency on several buses near campus. Specifically, the N will now run all night, with service every 30 minutes. This increase in frequency will be helpful for students who live in the Sunset. The 22, which runs down Fillmore St. from the Mission District to the Marina, has also had its late night routes restored. During the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., the 5 (arguably the most used bus line by USF students) has increased frequency from every twenty minutes to ever fifteen minutes. Additionally, the 5 runs every eight minutes from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Other lines near campus that have increased frequency include: the 33 (day time frequency is now every fifteen minutes), the 43 (the last bus now leaves the end of the line at 12:30 a.m.), and the 24 (OWL service has been restored and day time frequency is now every ten minutes).
These changes are certainly positive news for USF students, but none of the restorations are set in stone. Federal and state funding for public transportation is not slated to greatly increase in the near future and the cost of these improvements to Muni may take a toll on the San Francisco economy. USF students consistently acquire Muni passes for a heavily discounted rate and use public transportation daily. It is our job, as consumers in the economic food chain, to build support for public transportation. Doing this may require us to vote more meticulously in the elections this fall, making sure to check which federal, state, and local candidates have committed to sustaining funding for public transportation. The worst case scenario for USF students may be that public transportation ceases to exist, leaving students without safe or efficient ways to get around town. It is essential, both for our own comfort and for our school’s commitment to social justice, that we make a commitment to preserving Muni.
Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain
Opinion Editor: Laura Waldron