Oakland-San Francisco Attorney Comments on Muni Safety

Muni is in the spotlight again, this time over a safety issues-one of which has to do with negligent Muni personnel and the other with Muni’s fleet of low-floor buses. The California Public Utilities commission, the regulatory agency that oversees rail and light-rail transit agencies in the state, noted dozens safety violations in their inspection reports released last week. Many of the violations involved worn tracks, exposed wires, malfunctioning emergency phones and overgrown vegetation along the tracks. There were only a handful of violations which involved human error, such as a train operator who appeared to be sleeping while the train was moving. During another inspection a train operator was seen with a number of newspapers near him, indicating that the operator was, at some point, distracted by the paper during his shift, even though the inspector did not observe the operator reading the papers at the time of the inspection.

Muni is also facing criticism regarding their fleet of environmentally friendly, cheap to maintain, low-floor, hybrid buses. Most Muni riders consider the fleet a success, as they speed up service by allowing passengers to board quickly; however, the disabled and senior community are concerned about low-floor buses due to the fact that they are actually higher off the ground than other buses and don’t “kneel,” which means they are harder to board. Transit activist and former Muni engineer Jerry Cauthen said low-floor buses are crucial in speeding up service in heavily used corridors. Muni Officials estimate that their agency could save $76 million just by ordering more of these buses, which would raise system-wide speeds by 1mph.

Here at the Brod Law Firm, we believe, despite Muni’s need for budget cuts and more efficient service, they should never take their eyes what is most important: safety. If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to Muni’s negligence, please contact our firm. We have over 10 years experience helping people who have been injured in accidents involving Muni.