Willie cares about MUNI?

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From: Willie_Brown@ci.sf.ca.us

I regret the frustration you have experienced as a Muni Rider. I believe that we are putting changes in place that will restore your faith in Muni during 1998.

Everyone knows that Muni has suffered from almost a decade of underfunding and policy neglect. In the beginning these changes were not noticeable to the public, but in recent years it is evident that lack of equipment, street supervisors and maintenance have taken a heavy toll.

Emilio Cruz has my full support as Muni's General Manager. He is firing drivers and other staff for lack of performance. This is unprecedented, and scores have been terminated. For the first time in years, we have standards for performance.

The old Boeing streetcars have almost no reliability and often contribute to delays in the Muni Metro. The Automated Train Control System (ATCS) has been delayed several years. By November 1998 it will be fully operational and will contribute enormously to reducing the stoppages in the underground that so many complain about.

We are currently in the process of making far-reaching improvements to Muni Metro. These improvements include the acquisition of 136 new light rail vehicles to replace our entire aging and problematic fleet of Boeing cars; the creation of an Advanced Train Control System (ATCS) that will control the speed and number of cars in the Muni Metro System; the opening of the Muni Metro Extension, which will service the South of Market area to Fourth and Townsend; and the utilization of the Muni Metro Turnback, to facilitate reversing of trains at Embarcadero Station. These four projects have been in the works for several years and were planned specifically because of the problems we face with Muni Metro.

Originally, these projects were designed to take place in 1996. However, construction and contract negotiations have delayed the whole process. In 1998, when ATCS becomes operation, we expect dramatic improvements. Muni Metro improvements hinge on the successful implementation of these four projects. The additional cars and ATCS, once in place, will automatically improve service on the N line as well as all parts of the Muni Metro system.

The old Muni paid $20 million to a consulting firm to manage the procurement of the new Breda Streetcars and the ATCS system. Neither of these procurements have gone smoothly, and I've personally gotten involved to straighten things out.

I recognize that this answer will not alleviate your anger, frustration or concern about Muni. What I can say is that I am very aware that you and many other San Franciscans view my success as Mayor based upon my ability to deliver these improvements.

I hope that 1998 will see us turn the corner with Muni and it is my hope that you will continue to apprise me of what you're experiencing. Please excuse the delay in responding, but there have been a few thousands messages since November. Best regards.

Mayor Willie Brown

-- richard (zpub@sirius.com), January 01, 1998

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