To the Editor:

Thank you for telling readers about the SFMTA plan to reroute the 33-Stanyan so it would no longer serve San Francisco General Hospital on Potrero Avenue. We’d like to clarify a few points. Your report left the impression that this change is happening now, but its implementation actually depends on changes that must be made first on the 9-San Bruno and 22-Fillmore lines. We have been unable to learn from the MTA exactly when this would happen, but probably not for several months at least.

In the meantime, as you describe, riders, neighbors, SFGH workers, and patients have been organizing to stop the elimination of this vital service. In addition to the 250 online signatures mentioned, we are also collecting signatures on paper petitions and already have another few hundred to turn in. Few people we have asked to sign have heard of the proposed change and most have opposed it.

The 33-Stanyan reroute was approved by the MTA over a year ago as part of the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) and as such, had to undergo review under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This analysis reveals whether an individual Muni route serves a disproportionate number of low-income riders or people of color in comparison with the city as a whole.

The TEP (now called Muni Forward) determined that the 33-Stanyan was not a bus line with such a disproportionate ridership, and therefore changes to its route would not violate the Civil Rights Act. But the Title VI analysis applied only to the entire route, so a bus’s travels through a wealthy, white area of the city (such as Ashbury Heights in the case of the 33) could skew these numbers. We have asked for a specific Title VI analysis for the Potrero Avenue segment of the 33 route alone and gotten no response, but clearly the ridership to and from SFGH is heavily low income and people of color. In addition, Title VI rules unfortunately fail to take into account seniors and people with disabilities, who are also overrepresented on the 33 near the hospital.

We argue that changing this route would adversely affect vulnerable populations and that the SFMTA should reconsider its plan.

Iris Biblowitz, RN
Fran Taylor

4 replies on “Letter to the editor: the 33-Stanyan Muni bus line”

  1. The 33 to SF general is “vital”? The bus is nearly always completely empty between Mission and SF General. It will be easy to get off at 16th & Mission and transfer to the 22.

    Complaints like this are why Muni is so slow and unreliable in the first place. If SFMTA can’t streamline slow, inefficient routes, we’re all stuck waiting as lines get bogged down serving petitions and dorks who bark at City Hall—and not the wider population.

    1. It will be easy for *able-bodied people* to transfer to the 22. Not so much for slow-moving seniors, people in wheelchairs, and other people who tend to be going to the hospital. Forcing wheelchair transfers could slow down both the 33 and the 22, so this doesn’t even make sense for the stated purpose. Normally I don’t give a crap about route changes, even for the buses I ride, but this just seems to leave out the fact that buses exist to move people. The “wider population” needs to consider the poor and disabled, not just dudebros.

    2. I don’t think the transfer at 16th & Mission is the issue. That’s where a lot of people already make the transfer from other Muni lines and BART to the 33.

      The problem is when the 33 stops serving General Hospital, riders will need to make a second transfer at 16th & Potrero from the 22/33/55 to the 9/9R. Once the 33 route changes the only connections from Mission Street and Mission Street transit lines to General Hospital that don’t require a second transfer will be at 11th/Mission (9/9R) and way down at 24th/Mission (the 48 alone).

      I wonder if there might be any merit in this suggestion: when Muni goes ahead with the 22/33 reroutes into Mission Bay and Dogpatch, turn the 55 in a U-shaped line running from 16th/Mission to Potrero, passing the hospital before using 24th to reach 24th/Mission BART.

  2. Here’s a solution no-one has seemed to mention yet-Since the 22 Fillmore is obviously one of the most used trolleybus lines on MUNI, why not give the 22 multiple terminals in the same way the 38 Geary(one of the most used motor coach bus lines on MUNI) has?

    My point is-the 22 could have 2 terminals at its east end-The 3rd/20thst terminal which it already has, plus its future terminal where the 55 line presently turns around in Mission Bay. That way, the 33 could still turn around at 25th and Potrero sts without being re-routed at all.

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