That being said, there were no "winners" in last night's debate. It was
heartening to see the supes uphold the law at the expense of
grandstanding about Muni service cuts, but the end result is Muni
"Across-the-board cuts are absolutely the worst way to solve a budget
problem for Muni," Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of the San
Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), told us in our cover story. "There needs
to be some strategy about it."
The notion of across-the-board cuts sounds good politically: We should all suffer equally. But, then again, not all transit lines are equal. Does it make sense to cut service on Muni's workhorse lines like the N-Judah and 38-Geary at the same rate as, say, the 36-Teresita? No. In no sane world. But that's essentially what's been proposed.
Muni has a lot of research in the can about how to more efficiently tweak service -- and, yes, this includes cuts. But applying this research properly takes more time and money than Muni is willing to expend. The service cuts given tacit approval by the supes yesterday will save Muni $28.5 million a year. God knows how many miserable stories the pending 10-percent cuts will spawn and God knows how many frustrated riders will abandon public transportaiton in favor of polluting, street-clogging cars. But, at this point, Muni just needs to be able to cut the check.
That kind of worry is a luxury. But ignoring it imperils the transit agency's long-term viability.