72 Questions for SFMTA Concerning GearyBRT Bus Stop Removals

The SFMTA has spent millions promoting BRT in San Francisco while fully knowing that it’s promised time savings for young commuters is built upon deep service cuts to Seniors and Disabled MUNI riders. The transit agency has failed to report data projecting an increase in the use of SF Paratransit as a result of the Bus Stop removals planned for GearyRapid and GearyBRT.

The following 72 questions for SMTA Staff are designed to uncover the politics and money at stake that has motivated San Francisco’s Elected Officials to unanimously grant the SFMTA unprecedented authority to move GearyBRT forward, regardless of the negative impact upon Seniors and Disabled MUNI riders who depend upon their currently available MUNI Bus Stops to live independently, with dignity.

Let us know in the comments below if you are a Senior or Disabled MUNI rider whose Bus Stop is at risk of removal or any comments you may have about SF Paratransit.

  1. Why can’t SFMTA manage GearyBRT without removing Bus Stops on Geary Blvd.?
  2. Is it possible the SFMTA may need to remove more bus stops on Geary Blvd. than currently planned?
  3. Does the SFMTA have the authority to remove more bus stops from Geary Blvd. than it has originally planned in its plan for GearyBRT?
  4. Is it SFMTA’s plan that Seniors and Disabled MUNI riders who are too frail to walk farther to a Bus Stop as a result of GearyBRT removing their current, closer Bus Stop to use SF Paratransit?
  5. Has SFMTA or any of its contracted outreach or PR Firms explained to the public that some GearyBRT riders may have to depend on SF Paratransit as a result of removing their Bus Stops? If so, where is a copy or link to this report or promotion?
  6. Why can’t SFMTA agree to save all Geary Blvd. Bus Stops and choose the alternative of a dedicated MUNI lane exclusively for commute hours on Geary Blvd. to speed 38R commutes, which would be open to 38L and all other vehicles outside of commute hours?
  7. Where in the EIR (or any other SFMTA report) does it report how many seniors and disabled riders who are currently able to ride the 38 L and 38R Busses are expected to be negatively impacted by the removal of bus stops on Geary Blvd.?
  8. Where in any SFMTA plans or reports for GearyBRT does it show the projected negative impact of removing Bus Stops on Geary Blvd. upon the Senior and Disabled MUNI riders population in the Richmond District?
  9. Can you please cite any SFMTA or Consultant/Contractor report that had anticipated Seniors and/or Disabled MUNI riders switching from Geary BRT to SF Paratransit?
  10. Is it true that SF Paratransit is not a MUNI service but rather a separate transit division with SFMTA oversight and budget control?
  11. Is it true that SF Paratransit is actively managed by an out of state, private corporation?
  12. Is it true that SFMTA pays a private company to hire SF Paratransit drivers as well as manage pick-ups and drop-offs of Seniors and Disabled riders?
  13. Is it true that the company contracted by SFMTA has a current contract to manage SF Paratransit as its "Paratransit Broker" valued at over $140,000,000, with an option to continue its agreement past 2021?
  14. Why can't SF Paratransit be fully managed by the SFMTA and have professional MUNI drivers rather than being run by an out of state private corporation who has a history of paying its drivers the lowest wages of all transit drivers in the Bay Area?
  15. Is it true that Seniors and Disabled MUNI riders must apply to be approved to use SF Paratransit?
  16. Is it true that Seniors and Disabled transit riders may have to wait more than 20 days to be approved to ride SF Paratransit?
  17. Is it true that Seniors and Disabled are required to schedule rides on SF Paratransit 24 hours beforehand?
  18. Is it true that the Federal Government provides specific ADA related grants to run SF Paratransit? 
  19. Does the private corporation that is contracting with the SFMTA also the same private company that manages East Bay Paratransit?
  20. Where is there SFMTA data showing the projections for any added budget costs from Seniors and Disabled MUNI riders switching from Geary BRT to SF Paratransit as a result of removing bus stops on Geary Blvd.?
  21. In 2016, the SFMTA renewed a 5-year contract agreeing to pay $140 Million to Transdev, a privately held, multi-billion dollar, French Multinational corporation who has operated SF Paratransit since 2000. Is there an anticipated cost increase reported by the contractor for the most recent Transdev "Paratransit Broker" contract based upon possible increased use of SF Paratransit due to Geary Rapid, Geary Improvement Project, Go Geary, or Geary BRT Bus Stop removals?
  22. Has Transdev ever advised SFMTA employees about the need to remove bus stops anywhere in San Francisco in relationship with BRT projects?
  23. Has SFMTA ever paid Transdev for consulting expertise in matters relating to BRT in San Francisco?
  24. The SFMTA asked the SF Board of Supervisors for over $8 Million to address additional fees from Transdev not included in the original Paratransit Broker contract ending in 2015/16. The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved that additional cost. Where did the extra $8 million come from within the City's budget?
  25. Is it true that Transdev sells all or some of the following: management, software, and other solutions focused on supporting BRT projects across the United States and Canada?
  26. Does Transdev provide contributions, gifts, donations, or grants to the SFMTA or SFMTA supported non-profits who promote BRT in San Francisco?
  27. Is it true that Transdev, the company contracted by SFMTA to manage SF Paratransit and sells BRT related products and services across the United States is a privately held corporation, with its parent company located in France?
  28. Is it true that Transdev’s East Bay Paratransit business is currently under investigation for misconduct in transporting riders, specifically charged with poor treatment of seniors and disabled riders and excessive transport delays, with some rides regularly 30 minutes late and some over two hours late? If not, who at MUNI would be the person who should be responsible to stay up to date on such matters?
  29. What is the relationship between the SFMTA and Transdev in terms of MUNI BRT programs in San Francisco?
  30. Has the SFMTA made any plans formal or informal to buy products or services from Transdev to support the set-up, operation, or maintenance of BRT in San Francisco? If yes, please list those products and services.
  31. Even though Transdev is a multibillion-dollar corporation, the SFMTA became aware that Transdev had historically not paid SF Paratransit drivers prevailing wages in San Francisco. Was this policy corrected by Transdev before signing its current "Paratransit Broker" contract with SF Paratransit for past 2020)? 
  32. Who at the SFMTA discovered that Transdev was not paying its drivers prevailing wages during the term of its previous 5-year contract (ending in 2015/16)?
  33. Was any of the additional $8 million dollars in new fees requested in 2015/16 by SFMTA for its contract with Transdev used to make up the gap between prior low Transdev Paratransit driver wages and higher SF Prevailing wages for transit drivers? If so, how much of that amount was applied?
  34. Does SFMTA contract outreach or promotions about GearyBRT or other SF BRT projects to an outside Public Relations firm(s), communications advisor or Political Consultant? If so, please list them along with contacts at each agency.
  35. How much does the SFMTA pay each of its outreach, promotions and political consultants Contractor(s) to promote Geary BRT as well as BRT projects throughout San Francisco? Please break this down by contract.
  36. Do any of the PR agencies or consultants contracted by SFMTA also work on political campaigns in San Francisco?
  37. Do any of the PR consultants, Communication Advisors, or Political Consultants contracted by SFMTA also have a history working for any past or present elected member of San Francisco Government?
  38. Specifically, has any PR Agency, communications firm or political consultant contracted by the SFMTA have clients who currently hold public office in San Francisco, Sacramento, or Washington D.C.?
  39. Specifically, has any PR Agency, Communications Advisor or Political Consultant contracted by SFTMA conducted political fundraisers for any past or current elected official who (at the time of their contract) has had authority to vote on BRT in San Francisco?
  40. Are any of the PR Agencies, Communications Advisors or Political Consultant contracted within the past 5 years by SFMTA known for promoting negative stories or promotions commonly know as "Hit Pieces or Hatchet Jobs" against the opponents of their clients?
  41. How much money in total over the past 5 years has SFMTA budgeted to promote BRT in San Francisco?
  42. How many outside companies and consultants have been contracted by SFMTA to promote BRT in San Francisco? Please list these companies and consultants.
  43. Why have there been so many name changes to projects that involve the removal of bus stops in San Francisco, specifically Geary Blvd.?
  44. Have any of the names employed by SFMTA for the purpose of promoting MUNI BRT, specifically, Geary Rapid, Go Geary, Geary Rapid Project, Geary Improvement Project or others been developed by or with outside, SFMTA contracted PR or Consulting firms?
  45. Have any San Franciscan residents been the target of BRT Public Relations campaigns designed to reduce BRT opposition? If so, please name these people.
  46. Are any contractors or public relations firms representing the SFMTA paid to engage people on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor to advocate for BRT in San Francisco.
  47. Has any outside company and/or private organization contributed to the promotional costs of BRT in San Francisco? If so, please list these organizations and companies.
  48. Does the SFMTA give money to non-profit organizations who in-turn promote Pro BRT programs, policies, or campaigns?
  49. Does the SFMTA give money to non-profit organizations who in-turn oppose BRT programs, policies, or campaigns?
  50. Are there any former SFMTA employees who have left SFMTA to work at private companies that currently have or have had contracts with SFMTA regarding BRT or SF Paratransit in San Francisco?
  51. How much money has been spent by SFMTA on its Geary BRT outreach to Seniors and the disabled?
  52. How much money from Jan 2014 to June 2018 has SFMTA spent on advertising campaigns with the SF Chronicle, Examiner and other local media firms including Neighborhood blogs such as "theBoldItalic.com, MissionLocal.com, Hoodline.com, CurbedSF.com, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to promote BRT in SF?
  53. Did the SFMTA receive discounted rates to promote Pro-BRT projects using SFMTA's own advertising Channels, specifically, Outdoor ads, Bus Stop ads, Interior vehicle advertising posters, side panel ads attached to busses or light rail vehicles, SFMTA or Web sites, station kiosks, and pamphlets? If so, how much was the discount received by SFMTA compared to standard advertising rates charged to private companies? Please state the total value of advertising received by SFMTA by using its own, taxpayer-funded advertising channels.
  54. In total, how much did SFMTA spend to develop, create, install, maintain, and remove a virtual viewfinder on Geary Blvd to promote GearyBRT, which did not report planned cuts to Bus Service affecting Seniors and Disabled MUNI transit riders?
  55. Has the SFMTA worked with the ADA or ACLU regarding BRT? If so, please explain the nature of such work as it applies to the removal of bus stops on Geary Blvd. and a contact at the organization who can verify.
  56. Has the SFMTA worked with the ADA or ACLU regarding SF Paratransit? If so, please explain the nature of such work as it applies to the removal of bus stops on Geary Blvd. and a contact who can verify.
  57. Did any members of the SFMTA report to any SF Supervisors the negative impact of removing bus stops on Geary Blvd. from its Senior and Disabled Transit riders? If so, please name all the SF Supervisors who have been presented with this information.
  58. Which SF Supervisors knew that Seniors and the Disabled would have sizable MUNI service cuts as a result of BRT in San Francisco?
  59. Is it true that employees of the SFMTA have not timed how long it takes to secure a wheelchair-bound person safely at each of the proposed Geary BRT Bus Stops for the purposes of calculating the transit time along the complete path of the proposed GearyBRT line?
  60. Is it true that SFMTA contractors, including Transdev, have not calculated the timing of securing wheelchair bound transit riders at every stop along the total Geary BRT route?
  61. Is it true that Geary BRT planners did not conduct a comprehensive account for the bus boarding times of fragile seniors and wheelchair-bound MUNI riders when proposing their original plan for Geary BRT? 
  62. Which organizations representing SF Seniors and Disabled MUNI riders agreed to SFMTA’s plan for Bus Stop removals/service cuts to Seniors and the Disabled as proposed for GearyBRT?
  63. Please name the Senior and Disabled MUNI riders representative(s) who signed off on the SFMTA plan for GearyBRT where it is stated the total amount of Bus Stops to be removed on Geary Blvd. for GearyBRT?
  64. What is the difference between The Geary Rapid Project, the Geary Improvement Project and GearyBRT? Are these various names deployed to confuse the public?
  65. Did SFMTA staff or employees from an SFMTA contractor (possibly a famous local PR firm or Political Consultant) come up with the idea to downplay GearyBRT controversy through the use of the name, Geary Improvement Project?
  66. If SFMTA spent money to promote BRT in San Francisco, what percentage of the budget has been spent on addressing the negative impact of Bus Stop removals on Geary Blvd for Senior and Disabled MUNI Transit riding residents?
  67. Did Mayor Ed Lee and/or Mayor Elect London Breed know about SFMTA’s 17-year relationship with Transdev and its previous iteration, known as Veolia?
  68. Did Former Richmond District Supervisor, Eric Mar know about the extent of SFMTA’s negative impact on Seniors and the Disabled before voting to approve GearyBRT in the Richmond District less than a week before his successor, Supervisor Sandra Fewer took office?
  69. Is it true that all SF Paratransit driver complaints are managed by Transdev?
  70. Has Transdev had to compete for its management contract against other firms to run SF Paratransit as the SFMTA’s “Paratransit Broker”?
  71. Has Transdev been the beneficiary of a No-Bid contract to act as SFMTA’s Paratransit Broker?
  72. Has Transdev’s political contributions to CA, SF, Sacramento, and Washington D.C politicians who have influence and approval power over BRT in San Francisco been reviewed by the San Francisco Department of Ethics for the sake of transparency? If so, please report the total political contributions made and to whom they were made.

If you are concerned with MUNI Bus Stop removals that negatively and harshly affect our Seniors and Disabled MUNI riders, please consider making a donation to support San Franciscans for Sensible Transit's lawsuit. The lawsuit is the only active lawsuit that can defend against GearyBRT's Service Cuts and Bus Stop Removal Plans. Learn more at www.SF4ST.org