MUNI Light Rail

MUNI Light Rail (Photo credit: Aaron Kohr)

San Francisco's MUNI Director Steps Down Amid Complaints About Service

Doug Sovern
April 29, 2019 - 1:44 pm

SAN FRANCISCO — Ed Reiskin, the director of San Francisco's MUNI bus and train system, announced his resignation as the transit system struggles to uphold its level of service.

In a letter to the board of the Municipal Transportation Agency, Reiskin said he will resign when his contract expires in August, after eight years overseeing an often beleaguered transit system.

Last week's subway power outage culminated a month of troubles and looks like it might have forced Reiskin to head for the door. 

In another setback for MUNI, officials are trying to fix a safety problem with the doors on its new trains. The doors have closed on riders and other objects. In one case, a woman got dragged by a train and fell onto the tracks after the door shut on her hand. 

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While many would call running MUNI a thankless job, chairman Malcolm Heinicke told KCBS Radio he wants to thank Reiskin publicly.

“I’m grateful to his service,” he said. “I will say I’m not surprised by his announcement. I think it was understood with him and other leaders in the agency that when his contract would come to an end that he would move on.”

But groups that represent riders are happy to see the MUNI director go.

Gerald Cauthen, a member of Save Muni and head of the Bay Area Transportation Working Group, told KCBS Radio that it is time for Reiskin to resign.

“I think he should, however, I’m afraid the city and county of San Francisco is going to think that’s all that needs to be done to the MTA,” he said. “The MTA needs a lot more than the switching of the director.”

Cauthen called for removing much of the board.

Heinicke acknowledged that MUNI has underperformed. 

“There are some significant design issues. There are some significant challenges and we’re very aware of the public’s frustration. That’s why I have personally demanded monthly hearings to get answers and accountability on what’s going on with the service.”

Heinicke says the board will search for a seasoned transportation expert to take Reiskin's place.