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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Lazy 'loiners loser lobby

The San Francisco political world sometime appears like a small inbred sphere of political hold-up artists who fear progress more than they support progressive governing ideals. Case in point, the online petition to Keep the Geary/O'Farrell Bus Stops.

It sounds like a well-meaning, good for the little-guy, campaign. But it is nothing more than another political hold-up by a special interest group that wants to continue a cushy government perk and to hell with the rest of the City.

If you aren't a Fastpass carrying transit aficionado, let me update you on the background. The 38-Geary line stops every block during the Tenderloin. For commuters coming in from the Richmond, half of the travel time is during the eight blocks from Van Ness to Powell because the bus stops at nearly every corner. It is always faster to walk, but while I'm in favor of exercise I don't know if a public blog is a proper place to recommend a stroll through the 'loin.

Removing Stops Increases Ridership

San Francisco claims to be a Transit First City. The voters have even said that elected officials should be riding the bus. Yet bold policy statements don't get more people riding the bus. If you want to increase ridership, you get rid of bus stops. This has been proven to increase ridership more than increasing reliability or increasing access. People aren't stupid and it drives riders crazy when a bus route is engineered to stop every block.

OK, I take that back because 160 people signed this petition.

Every work day, 50,000 people riding the 38 in from the Richmond are astounded by the stupidity of the line stopping every block through the 'loin. It isn't fair to people riding the other six miles of the line and it is poor transit planning that effectively keeps people from using public transit.

If anything, San Francisco should get rid of more bus stops. If I were Michael Burns, I'd focus my time on getting rid of bus stops. Does City Hall really need two bus stops?

Hopefully, the good people at the Transportation Authority will ignore this petition as nothing more than political cheapness at its worst.

- Bob Brigham
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