I read this morning that MUNI is adding an 83X line to ferry riders from the 4th/King Caltrain station to Civic Center BART. I applaud this measure to layer on high return on investment, targeted transportation options onto the overall system. While this service might not benefit the typical MUNI rider directly, there are indirect impacts of adding service like this that absolutely impact our current regular riders. If this service attracts riders and removes cars from congested corridors, everyone wins.
Given the addition of this line and the recent NX line, I would like to suggest a line that would also be of benefit, across Districts 7, 8, 9 and 10 and benefitting each district in one way or another.
Over the last few years, ridership on the "reverse-peak" direction of Caltrain - riders leaving SF to go to jobs South of the City - has exploded. Much of this population of riders resides in the Supervisorial districts noted above, because those districts have relatively easy access to freeways headed Southbound. What those districts do not have is reasonable access to a Caltrain station. The 48 bus runs from the ocean to 22nd Street Caltrain, but navigates congested corridors as a workhorse taking residents along two semi-distinct retail corridors and serving BART and SFGH. The bus runs from 1 block from my house in Noe Valley and stops in front of the 22nd Street Caltrain station - taking roughly 35 minutes to complete a journey that I can make on my bicycle in 12 minutes.
The result of the demand for Caltrain coupled with poor MUNI service is that residents of Noe/Mission/Bernal have voted to drive to the 22nd Street station which is known for copious amounts of free parking. Known well enough that parking management has become a problem here, and a plan to resolve that issue by metering the parking in the area caused much rancour.
The time has come to respond to this market. I believe that the SFMTA should study a 48X express bus from the West side of town to Caltrain. By routing such a bus down Cesar Chavez instead of 24th, and making fewer stops, we could serve this population, attract new riders, and mitigate the parking problems in the Caltrain/Dogpatch area while also reducing AM/PM congestion on Cesar Chavez. Placing a stop at Mission Street would also serve as a nominal express to BART for West Portal/Miraloma/Diamond Heights/Noe. This route could also serve a working population that has no current route down the Chavez corridor on MUNI (subject to making the schedule effective as a Caltrain feeder, perhaps with stops on 3rd Street after the train station).