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March 19, 2013

Issue 1 Volume 1

Letter From the Director Welcome to the first edition of the Inside SFMTA newsletter! The inaugural edition takes a new approach in how we communicate news and information to each other as we move steadily forward to achieve our strategic goals. By providing concise, timely updates highlighting our collective accomplishments and successes, we reinforce the mission and core values of our agency. Read more from Director Reiskin here.

Great Work Leads to Good Government Award for SFMTA's Lea Militello Head of Security, Investigations and Enforcement, Lea Militello, will be honored this evening for her efforts in helping take a bite out of Muni crime and other achievements during SPUR's 33rd Annual MFAC Good Government Awards being held at 5:30 at City Hall. Militello will receive one of five awards presented to City and County of San Francisco managers who show exemplary job performance and leadership. Find out how Lea made a difference by clicking here.

New "Peace Campaign" Promoting Acceptance and Diversity Appears on Muni Vehicles A new advertising campaign aimed at promoting peace, respect and acceptance for all people was released by the SFMTA earlier this month and currently appears on a number of Muni vehicles. The new "Peace Campaign," featuring quotes from public figures as diverse as Mark Twain, Nelson Mandela, Bono, Maya Angelou and 13thcentury Persian poet Rumi, promotes ethnic and religious acceptance and coincided with the release of a controversial new campaign by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) that was also launched earlier in the month. Read more here.


Ready to Roll: Rehabilitated Muni Buses Receive New Lease on Life The first of 80 newly rehabilitated Neoplan buses scheduled to rejoin the SFMTA fleet within the next year was recently unveiled at the Agency's Woods Division. The refurbished buses, all scheduled to undergo complete major system overhauls, will add years of life to some of the SFMTA's poorest-performing vehicles, improve fleet performance reliability, reduce repair costs and deliver added customer comfort and safety. Numerous additional improvements that will benefit the disabled community were also added during the rehabilitation process. Take a look at the Agency's new addition here.

SFMTA Group Takes Alternative Modes to Chinese New Year Parade An enlivened SFMTA contingent marched, danced and clanged its way through the 2013 edition of the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade held on Feb. 23. In celebration of the Lunar New Year, a group of 50 SFMTA employees, families and friends donned Chinese costumes and cardboard cutouts of cable cars, buses and other alternative transportation modes to take part in this year's festivities that celebrated the arrival of the Year of the Snake. Photos and more here.

Twitter Feed "Just met biggest #Muni fan. He's 3 years old. Learned numbers & days of week by reading Muni transfers." Peter H.

Letters, Correspondence and Advice "...Muni drivers...are always patient and kind, especially to seniors (that's me). I respect the Muni drivers and I thank them for being there..." Lena H. See Lena's entire letter here.

Questions Questions, comments or submissions? E-mail us at newsletter@sfmta.com.

Copyright Š 2013. All Rights Reserved.


Letter From  the  Director   Welcome to the first edition of the Inside SFMTA newsletter! The inaugural edition takes a new approach in how we communicate news and information to each other as we move steadily forward to achieve our strategic goals. By providing concise, timely updates highlighting our collective accomplishments and successes, we reinforce the mission and core values of our agency. We continue to reach milestone achievements that support our vision: the Masonic Streetscape project gained Board approval; our key funding needs were included in the city’s upcoming Capital Plans; customer complaints and fare evasion dropped as a result of all-door boarding; and, only this month, Free Muni for Youth launched for more than 22,500 low- and moderate-income youth. These programs give us a clearer understanding of the diverse areas we serve and provide a sense of accomplishment as we move toward our ultimate vision of San Francisco as a “great city with excellent transportation choices.” The Inside SMFTA newsletter is for you - for all of us, to capture, document and celebrate the journey to which we are all committed. We’d very much like your feedback, suggestions and story ideas as we tell the stories of the SFMTA, our stories. Ed  


Great Work Leads to Good Government Award for SFMTA's Lea Militello Head of Security, Investigations and Enforcement, Lea Militello, will be honored March 19 for her efforts in helping take a bite out of Muni crime and other achievements during SPUR’s 33rd Annual MFAC Good Government Awards being held at City Hall. Militello will receive one of five awards presented to City and County of San Francisco managers who show exemplary job performance and leadership. Mayor Edwin Lee and past San Francisco mayors will be in attendance. SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin will present the 2013 Good Government Award to Militello. Militello, a former SFPD Commander assigned to the SFMTA, segued over to the Agency as head of Security Enforcement immediately upon retirement from the police force in June 2012. “Though I am incredibly honored to receive this award, it’s really a team effort. I am very lucky to be working with very talented people who care about our city’s transportation system,” Militello said. In 2011 as SFPD Commander assigned to the MTA, Militello immediately reassessed deployment strategies of the Agency’s Proof of Payment unit, making strategic changes that resulted in reduction of overall fare evasion and a 50 percent increase in fare evasion citations issued. Additionally, Militello took the lead in implementing an Incident Command System (ICS) as a model for the SFMTA’s approach to transportation management of Special Events. The ICS model, allows individual Agency divisions to become involved in the transportation planning process, increasing communication and making for a more coordinated effort that allows for critical adjustments as events unfold. Implementation of the ICS transportation plan proved highly effective during the “perfect storm” weekend of Oct. 6-7, when over a million visitors flooded the city to attend a number of high-profile events that included America’s Cup, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, the Castro Street Fair, Italian Heritage Festival and Giants and 49er games. Moving forward, the new ICS approach to special events will also be applied to how the SFMTA responds in the event of an emergency.


New "Peace Campaign" Promoting Acceptance and Diversity Appears on Muni Vehicles A new advertising campaign aimed at promoting peace, respect and acceptance for all people was released by the SFMTA earlier this month and currently appears on a number of Muni vehicles. The new “Peace Campaign,” featuring quotes from public figures as diverse as Mark Twain, Nelson Mandela, Bono, Maya Angelou and 13thcentury Persian poet Rumi, promotes ethnic and religious acceptance and coincided with the release of a controversial new campaign by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) that was also launched earlier in the month. The AFDI—an organization that has made a practice of suing transit agencies over First Amendment rights, secured placement for five inflammatory ads that appear on 10 Muni buses throughout March and April. This will mark the third occasion that the AFDI has purchased ads disparaging various ethnic groups on Agency vehicles. Though the SFMTA strongly disagrees with the AFDI position and finds the ads deeply offensive, the First Amendment protects even and especially unpopular and offensive political speech. Refusal to allow the advertising on Muni vehicles would have likely resulted in litigation and a court-mandate to post them, as Washington DC and New York found when those respective transit agencies refused to place similar AFDI ads. (Click here to access the NYTimes story.) In spite of being compelled to run the advertising, the SFMTA refused to accept revenue from the sale of the AFDI ads, and instead agreed to transfer funds equal to the value of the AFDI ad revenue, to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (SFHRC). The SFHRC plans to use these resources to analyze the impacts on the Muslim and Arab communities that may be offended by the rhetoric used in the AFDI campaign. The SFMTA’s new Peace Campaign supports the Agency’s view that the people of San Francisco must rise above hate and derision, and work instead to promote unity and acceptance of all people. The SFMTA campaign also affirms SFMTA policy that prohibits unlawful discrimination against individuals and groups. The Peace Campaign first appeared on buses deployed from the Agency’s Woods Division, with other divisions following in the weeks after.


Ready to Roll: Rehabilitated Muni Buses Receive New Lease on Life The first of 80 newly rehabilitated Neoplan buses scheduled to rejoin the SFMTA fleet within the next year was recently unveiled at the Agency’s Woods Division. The refurbished buses, all scheduled to undergo complete major system overhauls, will add years of life to some of the SFMTA’s poorest-performing vehicles, improve fleet performance reliability, reduce repair costs and deliver added customer comfort and safety. Numerous additional improvements that will benefit the disabled community were also added during the rehabilitation process. Eight 40-foot Neoplan buses are cycled through the rehabilitation procedure at one time to undergo the approximately 35-day overhaul process. As a refurbished bus returns to the Agency, another is sent out, with no service impacts during the process. The rehabilitation procedure entails a complete overhaul of the engine propulsion system, transmission, suspension, radiator, doors and other key components. The renovated Neoplans are important to keeping the SFMTA fleet in a state of good repair and line up with the Agency’s strategic goal of creating a safer transportation experience for our customers. Refurbished vehicles stay in service more than twice as long as an older revenue vehicle near the end of its life expectancy. Along with major system overhauls, the restored vehicles will produce cleaner emissions, feature structural improvements, and replace old batteries with improved, environmentally friendly Absorbed Glass Mat batteries. Multi-colored, LED-type destination signs, easier to see in city fog, are also installed during the rehabilitation process. Other improvements include interior and exterior antigraffiti paint, a more ergonomic Operator’s cab, replacement flooring, and new seats, windows and window panel ribs. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) seats are now painted blue for easy identification and other ADA-friendly features include completely refurbished wheelchair lifts, contactless acoustic door systems, and yellow grab bars and stanchions in the door wells. The rehabilitation contract was awarded to Complete Coach Works of Riverside with funding provided by the FTA, California I-Bond and AB 664 Bridge Tolls.


SFMTA Group Takes Alternative Modes to Chinese New Year Parade An enlivened SFMTA contingent marched, danced and clanged its way through the 2013 edition of the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade held on Feb. 23. In celebration of the Lunar New Year, a group of 50 SFMTA employees, families and friends donned Chinese costumes and cardboard cutouts of cable cars, buses and other alternative transportation modes to take part in this year’s festivities that celebrated the arrival of the Year of the Snake. Leading the SFMTA entourage through the streets of downtown San Francisco was Trini Whittaker, the 2012 Cable Car Bell Ringing champion. Whittaker applied his winning form to a stationary cable car bell being pulled by an oversized tricycle, while SFMTA team members did a choreographed dance routine to the music. Central Subway team members carried a large banner touting the 1.7 mile extension of the T Third Line into Chinatown, expected to be in revenue service in 2019. It was the fifth year in a row that the Agency partnered with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce to participate in the 130-year event, considered one of the top ten festivals in the world. The annual Chinese New Year Parade attracts hundreds of thousands of people along the parade route and a vast television audience.

SFMTA employees Bridget Smith and James Shahamiri

The march begins

The SFMTA team assembles

Jason Lee with Matt Spring


The dancing begins

Cable Car Bell Ringing Champ Trini Whittaker

The SFMTA team promoting alternative modes

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Dancing in the street


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