The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced Oct. 15 that over the past two fiscal years, July 1, 2011 — June 30, 2012 and July 1, 2012 — June 30, 2013, trips taken on Muni have increased by more than four percent.
The national increase for calendar years 2011 and 2012 was just under four percent. Along with the growing economy, several major initiatives by the Agency coincided with this increase.
“As ridership continues to grow, so does the need to expand service to keep pace with the growing demands of the city,” said Tom Nolan, chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “The SFMTA Board will continue to explore ways to provide a transit system that will serve our current customers and our new customers as well.”
Over the past two years average weekday boardings have increased 4.16 percent and annual boardings have increased 4.31 percent. The total annual customer boardings for fiscal year 2012 was 222,125,944, a 3.92 percent increase over the year before. The fiscal year 2013 annual boardings total was 222,991,005, a .39 percent increase over FY 2012. The average weekday customer boardings tell a similar story. In fiscal year 2012, weekday trips increased by 3.13 percent over the year before; in FY 2013, they increased by 1.03 percent. The SFMTA is seeing a slow, but steady increase that mirrors the national trends of increased use of public transportation along with the recovering economy.
Recent statistics from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) show that the second quarter of calendar year 2013 is up 1.2 percent over the previous year, nearly 31 million more trips taken from April through June. This is in comparison to a 0.5 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled on U.S. roads. In fact eight of the last 10 quarters saw increased transit ridership.
“The more people choose public transit, the better it is for San Francisco’s overall transportation network,” said Ed Reiskin, director of transportation. “While this is encouraging news, we have to continue the work to improve Muni efficiencies, while simultaneously planning for its future growth.”
Increasing ridership comes as the Agency implemented improvements to Muni service including:
• Nx Judah rush hour express bus, which provides near-term improvement to Muni’s most heavily used light rail line
• The innovative red transit-only lanes on Church Street between Duboce Avenue and 16th Street that are helping to speed up the slowest section of the J Church Line and the 22 Fillmore Route
• All-door boarding, which helps Muni reliability and speed as riders can board at any door of their bus or train.
Other initiatives such as the regional payment card, Clipper, the low income Lifeline Pass and Free Muni for Low and Moderate Income Youth, help make taking Muni more accessible and affordable.