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Muni cable cars, streetcars impacted by absentee workers

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S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner file photo

Muni’s commitment to containing overtime costs is forcing service cuts on some lines, including steep reductions to streetcars and cable cars.

Faced with a midyear projected deficit of $29 million, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has attempted to reconcile the shortfall by reining in overtime.

However, transit operators recorded an unexplained-absentee rate of 12.2 percent last quarter, and without trained drivers to run the system, the agency has been forced to cut service in lieu of paying overtime.

As a result, Muni’s most specialized services — the cable cars and the F-line streetcars — have suffered the most. SFMTA documents show those two lines continue to miss a “large number of runs” due to the insufficient number of available operators.

Popular with tourists, Muni’s cable cars and historic streetcars carry an average of 42,599 passengers daily.

Last month, cable cars delivered only 81.7 percent of their scheduled service hours, and F-line vehicles were only slightly better at 90.9 percent. Those rates were well below the SFMTA’s light-rail lines, which delivered 98.4 percent of scheduled runs. The overall system average in April was 95.2 percent.

Muni is working on addressing those problems by ramping up its safety and training courses for transit operators, said SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose. The agency, which operates Muni, also recently hired 80 part-time operators to work during peak commute times.

Calls for comment to the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents Muni transit operators, were not returned as of press time.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Historic rides

Daily boardings on cable cars and streetcars, by line

California cable car: 6,596

Powell-Mason cable car: 6,578

Powell-Hyde cable car: 10,905

F-Market streetcar: 18,528