Rerouted Bus Lines Hurt Business, Neighbors Say

Construction on Mission Street in San Francisco that began in March has rerouted buses onto South Van Ness Avenue. The Muni lines affected by the reroutes are the 49 and 14. Photo by Sandy Lopez

Construction on Mission Street in San Francisco that began in March has rerouted buses onto South Van Ness Avenue. The Muni lines affected by the reroutes are the 49 and 14. Photo by Sandy Lopez

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Riders and businesses in the Mission say the rerouting of major Muni bus lines is causing confusion and hurting commerce.

The 14-Mission, 14L-Mission and 49-Mission/Van Ness, which usually travel along Mission Street, have been rerouted to South Van Ness since the beginning of March because of a repavement and infrastructure project by the Department of Public Works and Public Utilities Commission. The project affects Mission Street between 16th and Cesar Chavez streets.

“Fewer people have been coming into the store since the buses stopped coming,” said Aide Diaz, an employee at Factory Bargains at Mission and 19th streets. The Goodwill store has also seen a decrease in customers. “The construction has been very bad for business.”

“In the morning it’s dead,” said Maria Zarate, an employee at Goodwill. “There are less people on the street. It looks like a ghost town.”

Not only is the project hurting businesses, it is also confusing Muni riders because of the new stops on South Van Ness Avenue. A bus driver who regularly drives the 14-Mission said riders ask if the bus still travels along Mission Street, and said riders are not familiar with the stops on South Van Ness.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said the transit agency provided signage and staff at the affected bus stops between March 2 and 6, but riders still seem not to be familiar with the new stops.

“I don’t know where I am or where the bus is heading on this new route,” said Muni rider Candy Fonseca. “The route is something that I still need to get used to.”

Another Muni rider echoed the sentiment. “This new route makes me not want to head to the Mission to do my shopping — it is very confusing,” said Rosa Galeano.

The rerouting will continue for six months, the approximate time it will take to complete the repavement project.

Muni riders can find a list of affected stops on the transit agency’s website.

This article was produced in collaboration with the San Francisco Public Press, a startup nonprofit news organization that aims to do for print and Web journalism what public broadcasting has done for radio and television.

12 Comments

  1. Fran Taylor

    This situation contradicts the usual complaint from merchants that if parking is removed or made more expensive, shoppers will disappear. Study after study has shown that in cities like San Francisco many more shoppers arrive by foot, transit, or bicycle than by car. But perhaps this real life example will finally convince merchants that parking isn’t the be-all, end-all.

  2. Natalie

    Not sure the point of the article. Okay, they are repaving the street. When will it be done? 6 months. Presumably the buses will go back to Mission Street after that. Did they not want the repaving done? And frankly, unless you are super lazy it’s easy to figure out that there is a reroute, either through reading the signage or looking online.

  3. Peter

    Whelp . . . I live on Mission near 18th and without the busses (as many) the air is cleaner, it is more quite and in general much more pleasant. I’m sad it can’t stay this way – splitting the traffic load between the two streets. I’m sorry but I am a bit shocked that someone would not know where they are just because they are a block over from Mission – Wow! I rarely drive but at least now my neighbors can get out of our garage without a bus or a car blocking it. As progressive as SF/CA thinks it is I wish it would consider noise pollution and brake dust. I’ll get 6 more months of peace I guess.

    • Andy

      Agree on splitting things up. Why not keep the 49 on S. Van Ness permanently? Or use SVN for the 14L (and add a 49 Limited as well)?

      • Old Mission Neighbor

        Because a lot more people want to be on Mission St than on Van Ness. Like the article states, having the busses on Van Ness would hurt Mission St businesses. This would definitely be a big deal for the 49. The 14L, maybe not as much.

    • mission bred

      I’m a bus rider and I totally agree. Its much more pleasant on Mission St.to shop and the bus go much faster on South Van Ness. The bus does not have all that other traffic to fight with, delivery trucks, cars and pedestrians. Its better spread out. I say split the load.

  4. scum

    People are stupid, that is all.

  5. YEAH the new mission line is confusing. sometimes buses run on mission, sometimes they don’t–i guess what bothers me the most is that they put up these new bus stops in the mission and then two months later they re-route the whole line. for christ’s sake–i just don’t understand what’s wrong with the city. i see TONS of people waiting for the 14/14L/49 on Mission St. EVERY DAY. please–they posted people on Mission from March 2 – 6? Really? I never saw a single one of them. The timing and execution of this project is just horrid.

  6. Mission Resident

    I love having the 49 on SVN. It’s faster and makes so much more sense to run buses on South Van Ness; it’s wider, doesn’t have all the stopping and going cause of crowding. It’s a good move.
    People just have to get used to it. The business on Mission will pick up again. This just seems like an article to belly ache.

    I don’t ride the 14 much..to crowded and crazy on those buses.

  7. Chris

    The residents of the South Vanness corridor do not want the buses. They belong on Mission and we were promised this would be six months of noise. We are trying to organize so that out street can br slowed down like Valencia.

    • mel

      Chris – fellow South Van Ness resident here – can you pass along any information about community-based efforts to improve South Van Ness corridor? Thanks. Definitely don’t want the buses to stay.

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