The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will be conducting a survey and focus group to study the controversial rerouting of the 33-Stanyon bus line away from San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH), a SFMTA official says.

The additional layer of input comes after more than 300 advocates signed a petition speaking out against the change. The new 33 line would track east, into the Dogpatch, instead of south, along Potrero Avenue, where it currently drops off riders going to the hospital.

The 9R-San Bruno Rapid will serve Potrero at increased intervals, but riders coming from western neighborhoods will have to transfer from the 33 onto the 9 at 16th Street.

Proposed service changes to buses serving San Francisco General Hospital. Map courtesy of  SFMTA.
Proposed service changes to buses serving San Francisco General Hospital. Map courtesy of SFMTA.

“People who are ill ‒ seniors, people with disabilities ‒ are relying on that bus,” says Alice Bierman, Peer Advocate Program Coordinator of the Senior Disability Action (SDA) group. “Let’s not make it harder for them.”

Fran Taylor, a Mission resident who has been vocal in opposing the rerouting, says that the proposed SFMTA survey and focus group is a step in the right direction. “I’m happy to work with SFMTA to publicize this and make it happen.”

SFMTA Operations Planning and Scheduling Manager Julie Kirschbaum contends that shifts in Muni’s routing and service will actually improve citywide access to the hospital.

“The net amount of service to SF General Hospital will increase greatly” under the Muni Forward plan, she says, though the additional service will not fully be in place until 2017 at the earliest. Until then, the absence of the 33 on Potrero would mean an extra transfer for riders going to SFGH.

Muni Forward calls for increased frequency along the 9R-San Bruno Rapid and 10-Townsend beginning in February 2016, while the 19-Polk and a new route along 24th street will terminate at SFGH beginning in 2017, “pending outreach and resource availability,” Kirschbaum says.

Signatories of the petition cite concerns ranging from decreased service for the ill, disabled, and elderly to general frustration with Muni’s service changes.

“I am in my seventies,” writes Mission resident Ruth Mahaney. “This bus is my ‘aging in place’ plan. I depend on Muni!”

Other passengers are less concerned. Raul Gonzalez has been taking the 33 every week from 15th and Mission to SFGH to treat cancer and bad knees.  “I’ll just find another way,” Gonzalez says of the rerouting. “I’m gonna get where I gotta go.”

Kirschbaum was non-committal on the impact the new survey and focus groups might have on the rerouting, which does not yet have a firm implementation date. “The system is continuously evolving and improving, and we’re always open to new ideas.”

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  1. I think that Muni should consider this for the 22 Fillmore/33 Ashbury 18th st re-routing dilemma-Give the 22 Fillmore multiple terminals in the same way that the 38 Geary has multiple terminals. The 22 FIllmore has more than enough ridership(roughly 17,000) to justify giving it 2 terminals at its southeastern end.

    The 22 Fillmore could simply remain at both its present terminal at 3rd and 20th sts, along with its future Mission Bay terminal, currently used by the 55 line. That way the 33 can still go to SF General Hospital without any re-routing.

    Keep in mind that since Muni recently got new 60 foot trolley coaches, then maybe this solution I suggested could work. After all, it’s long overdue that Muni operated 60 foot accordion trolley coaches on the constantly overcrowded 22 Fillmore line.

    Lastly, I think that Muni should re-route the 55 line in the next couple years. Maybe the 55 could travel from the 16th and Mission BART station along 16th st, turn south on Potrero stopping at SF General, then turning west on 24th st(stopping at the 24th st BART station). From there it could turn north on Valencia, taking Valencia until it reaches 16th st, turning right(east) on 16th st towards the 16th&Mission st BART station. If MUNI set the 55 line up like that and had it as a red/yellow clock/wise/counterclockwise loop line (think of the 67 Bernal Heights or old 42 Downtown Loop bus lines), then I think the 55 would be a lot more useful in the long run.

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  2. And in true MUNI fashion, they will reroute the 33 but still not extend it to connect to 22nd Street Caltrain.

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  3. No mention of the new 55 route? That one is currently running on the route proposed here for the 22, between 16th/mission BART and UCSF mission bay. I suppose this change will mean the end of the 55 line.

    How about to re-route the 55 as well, to go from UCSF mission bay to SFGH, along the current 33 route.

    Also, for patients of the hospitals, UCSF is running a free shuttle service between all their locations. How much of the SFGH services have been or are going to be moved to mission bay?

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  4. I’ve been riding the #33 (and #9) for years, observing who’s on the #33 going to SFGH: many seniors and people with disabilities, patients for whom, I believe, the change would create a hardship. Any increase in service to SFGH is appreciated but doesn’t change the need for #33 to remain on Potrero. The person who’s quoted as saying, “I’ll find a way,” is indicative of the stoicism of many MUNI riders and SFGH patients. Just because people can cope with hardship doesn’t mean we have to pile it on.

    The petitions Mission Local cited were online. In addition, there are about 500 or more hand-written signatures, mostly gathered on the #33.

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