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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Muni: "Glad Bag Bus" Yanked Out of Service

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 10:55 AM

This would qualify as a "failure" - JIM HERD
  • Jim Herd
  • This would qualify as a "failure"

Today's cover story is about Muni's broken vehicles and the broken system that leads mechanics to "fix" them with plastic bags, duct tape, and rubber bands.

The rolling symbol of Muni's long-term neglect of maintenance needs is Coach No. 5427, which has been motoring through city streets since at least April 2011 with rooftop wires wrapped in black plastic bags or liners held in place with zipties.

SF Weekly has learned that Coach 5427 went out on its normal runs this morning, serving on the 24-Divisidero route. About 10 a.m., however, it diverted off its scheduled course and motored to the Potrero bus yard. Whether the jury-rigged application atop this bus that has passed Muni muster every day for more than a year will be addressed is unknown.

Finally, if today's cover story left any of you wanting even more statistics regarding public transit -- and Muni's somewhat dubious performance when stacked alongside other large agencies -- see below:

Los Angeles Municipal Transportation Agency:

Mean Distance Between Failures (miles between breakdowns, essentially):

Bus: 3,727 miles.
Light-Rail Vehicles: 17,926 miles.

Vehicle count: 2,417 buses, 270 overall rail vehicles.

Maintenance staff: Diesel -- 841 mechanics, 401 attendants, 78 body repair workers.
Rail -- 207 mechanics, 92 attendants.

AC Transit:

Mean Distance Between Failures: 4,665 miles.

Vehicle count: 585 buses.

Maintenance staff: 143 mechanics, 75 service employees.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

Mean Distance Between Failures:

Diesel/Hybrid buses: 9,842 miles; Electric buses: 19,121 miles.

Rail --  City Trolley: 7,645 miles; Suburban Trolley: 43,730 miles
Vehicle count: 908 rail cars (388 commuter rail; 335 subway/elevated; 159 trolley/light rail; 26 high-speed rail); 1,583 diesel/hybrid buses; 38 electric buses.

Maintenance staff
: 857 bus mechanics. 901 rail mechanics

click to enlarge This would qualify as a "failure" - JIM HERD
  • Jim Herd
  • This would qualify as a "failure"
Seattle King County Metro:

Mean Distance Between Failures: 5,805 miles, weighted average.

Vehicle count: Diesel/Hybrid buses: 1,409.

Maintenance staff: 301 mechanics, 695 overall maintenance staff.

San Francisco Muni:

Mean Distance Between Failures:

Diesel buses:

Kirkland standard: 4,469 miles.
Flynn articulated: 3,923 miles.
Woods standard: 3,142 miles.

Electric buses:

Potrero articulated: 833 miles.
Potrero standard: 1,879 miles.
Presidio standard: 1,981 miles.

OVERALL BUSES: 2,900 miles.


Light-Rail Vehicles: 2,258 miles.
Historic trolleys: 1,225 miles.
Cable cars: 1,402 miles.

OVERALL RAIL: 1,946 miles.

Vehicle count:

506 diesel buses, 313 electric buses.

151 light-rail vehicles; 40 historic trolleys; 40 cable cars.

Maintenance staff:

Roughly 200 electrical mechanics. Roughly 99 diesel mechanics.

Overall diesel maintenance personnel: 210.
Overall electric bus maintenance personnel: 90.
LRV and historic trolley overall maintenance personnel: 215.
Cable car overall maintenance personnel: 84.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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