What Muni’s Service Cuts Mean for the F-Market & Wharves Line


Muni’s 10% service cuts are now in effect, but not all lines are equally affected. As SFMTA spokesperson Kristen Holland described it in this morning’s Chronicle article, “These are surgical, data-driven changes to maintain as much capacity
as possible during our busiest service periods while still providing us
significant savings.”
A few lines are not affected at all, such as the N-Judah, because of its heavy ridership, or any of the cable car lines, because their minimum service levels are written into the city charter (a subject for a future discussion here).
How about the F-line? Very little impact, thanks in large part to both its existing high ridership levels (it already turns riders away at some times) and very strong community support that manifested itself, among other ways, in a recent public outcry that caused hasty withdrawal of an SFMTA staff recommendation that F-line fares be raised to match the cable cars, instead of being part of the basic system fare.
But the F isn’t completely untouched. Weekdays, service will start about 10 minutes later in the morning (first departure from a terminal around 6:00 a.m. instead of 5:50), and end at 11:20 p.m. instead of 12:30 a.m. (an hour and ten minutes earlier). Service frequencies (time between streetcars) will remain the same throughout the day, except for the last few runs of the evening, where there will be 20 minutes scheduled between streetcars instead of the current 15.
Weekends show similar small changes in the start and stop times for the F-line. Frequencies have not changed. In fact, according to the Weekend Frequency Guide posted on the SFMTA site, weekend midday service on the F-line is more frequent, at 7 minutes between streetcars, than any other Muni lines except the Powell Street cable cars and the Stockton Street corridor (30 and 45 lines combined). Early and late in the day, F-line frequency is around 12 minutes between cars, which observation has shown is completely inadequate during some periods such as Saturday nights.
Of course, simply keeping the F-line frequency unchanged can still have an impact on the line. Reduced frequencies for bus service along Market Street may crowd more riders onto the F-line, which could slow service.
We welcome the observations of regular F-line riders on how the changes are affecting their ride.