San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

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San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)
Sfmta logo.png
Agency overview
Formed 1999
Preceding agencies
  • San Francisco Public Transportation Commission
  • San Francisco Department of Parking and Traffic
Jurisdiction City and County of San Francisco
Headquarters 1 South Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California
Employees 4,800[1]
Annual budget Operating: $861M (2014)
Capital: $525M (2014)[2]
Agency executives
  • Edward D. Reiskin, Director of Transportation
  • Tom Nolan, Chairman, SFMTA Board of Directors
Child agency

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA or San Francisco MTA) is an agency created by consolidation of the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni), the Department of Parking and Traffic (DPT), and the Taxicab Commission.


SFMTA was established by the passage of Proposition E in November 1999, a measure which amended San Francisco's charter and established the semi-independent agency to combine and run Muni and DPT. The measure, promoted by the transit riders' group Rescue Muni, among others, established service standards for the agency and made a number of changes to the laws governing it.

Prior to the passage of Proposition E, the Muni was governed by the Public Transportation Commission and the Department of Parking and Traffic was governed by the Parking and Traffic Commission. Both bodies were dissolved upon the full implementation of Proposition E.

Proposition E established a seven-member board to govern the agency, its members appointed for fixed, staggered terms by the Mayor of San Francisco and subject to confirmation by the city and county's Board of Supervisors. Board members are limited to three terms.[3] The SFMTA Board of Directors is responsible for, among other things, hiring the agency's executive director.

At its inception, the SFMTA's Director of Transportation (a position referred to, at various times, in practice and by SFMTA Board policy, as "Executive Director" or "Executive Director/CEO") was Michael T. Burns. On July 15, 2005 he left the SFMTA for a position with Santa Clara VTA. Deputy Executive Director Stuart Sunshine, a former aide to Mayor Frank Jordan and Mayor Willie Brown, and a former head of the Department of Parking and Traffic, served as acting executive director until January 17, 2006, when Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr., previously the general manager and CEO of MARTA in Atlanta, took over as the new executive director. On June 15, 2011, the SFMTA announced Ford would be leaving the agency effective June 30, 2011; shortly thereafter the SFMTA Board decided that Director of Administration, Taxis, and Accessible Services Debra A. Johnson would take over as acting executive director until a permanent replacement was selected by the SFMTA Board.[4][5] The board selected Edward D. Reiskin, the head of the San Francisco Department of Public Works, as the permanent executive director, effective August 15, 2011.[6]

The first chair of the SFMTA Board of Directors was H. Welton Flynn; he was succeeded by Cleopatra Vaughns. When Vaughns left the board, James McCray, Jr. was elected chairman. Like two of his then-colleagues, McCray previously served on the Parking and Traffic Commission, which was abolished when the department merged into the SFMTA. All members of the current SFMTA Board were initially appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom[7] except for Directors Joél Ramos and Cristina Rubke, initially appointed by Mayor Edwin Lee.[8]

Only once has the Board of Supervisors exercised its prerogative, under the charter, to reject the mayor's appointees to the SFMTA Board, when then-Mayor Newsom appointed Hunter Stern to a vacant seat. The Board of Supervisors rejected Stern by a 7–4 vote on September 27, 2005. Stern was an official with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Proposition E also established a 15-member SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council which must review the agency's budget and which makes recommendations on agency policy. The mayor appoints four members of the SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council and each member of the Board of Supervisors appoints one.

Proposition E allowed for the SFMTA to take over the functions of the Taxicab Commission. In 2009, the agency did so, as a result of legislation passed by the Board of Supervisors and signed by the mayor.

In November 2005, the voters of San Francisco rejected, by a margin of 35%–65%, a ballot measure which would have allowed the Board of Supervisors to appoint three of the SFMTA Board's seven members. In November 2007, the voters of San Francisco approved, by a vote of 55% to 45%, a charter amendment further expanding the power of the SFMTA Board, granting the agency more flexibility in its labor relations, providing more funding for the agency, and imposing new limits on downtown parking.[9]

Muni Transit statistics[edit]

The SFMTA Transportation Fact Sheet[10] (2010) gives the following statistics about SFMTA service and equipment:

Statistic Number
Avg. Weekday Boardings (FY 2009) 707,459
Regular Weekday Transit Routes 75
Regular Fare $2.00
One-Way Cable Car Fare $6.00
Regular Muni-Pass Cost $68
Bart/Muni Fast-Pass Cost $80
Priority Bus Lanes 14.8 Miles
No. of Diesel Buses 507
No. of Cable Cars 47
No. of Historic Streetcars 39
No. of Light Rail Vehicles (Subway) 151
No. of Trolley Buses 313
Total Service Vehicles 1,057
Single Track – Light Rail Vehicles (gauge 4' 8.5") 71.5 Miles
Cable Car (gauge 3'6") 8.8 Miles

SFMTA Board of Directors[edit]

  • Tom Nolan, Chairman
  • Cheryl Brinkman, Vice Chairman
  • Malcolm Heinecke
  • Joél Ramos
  • Cristina Rubke
  • Gwyneth Borden
  • Lee Hsu

Board Secretary: Roberta Boomer

  • Policy and Governance Committee: Brinkman (chairman), Ramos, Rubke

SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council[edit]

  • Daniel Weaver, Chair
  • Daniel Murphy, Vice Chair
  • Joan Downey
  • Dorris Vincent
  • Susan Vaughan
  • Mark Ballew
  • Frank Zepeda
  • Alex Reese
  • Stephen L. Taber
  • Stephen Cornell
  • Neil Ballard
  • Cesar Magdaleno

(3 vacancies)

Council Secretary: Keka Robinson-Luqman

  • Engineering, Maintenance, & Safety Committee: Zepeda (chair), Vincent
  • Finance & Administration Committee: Reese (chair), Murphy, Vaughan, Ballard
  • Operations & Customer Service Committee: Ballew (chair), Downey, Murphy

List of Directors of Transportation* of the SFMTA[edit]

Name Service Began Service Ended
Michael T. Burns March 7, 2000 July 15, 2005
Stuart Sunshine (acting) July 15, 2005 January 17, 2006
Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr. January 17, 2006 June 30, 2011
Debra A. Johnson (acting) July 1, 2011 August 14, 2011
Edward D. Reiskin August 15, 2011

* The city charter refers to this office as the Director of Transportation, though the alternate title "Executive Director" was more commonly used during the first decade of the agency's existence. In February 2006, the MTA Board adopted a resolution adding "CEO" to the title.[11] When Edward D. Reiskin took office in 2011, he opted to use only the position's official title.[12]

List of Chairmen* of the SFMTA Board of Directors[edit]

Name Service Began Service Ended
H. Welton Flynn March 7, 2000 January 20, 2004
Cleopatra Vaughns January 20, 2004 May 2, 2006
Michael Kasolas (acting) May 2, 2006 May 16, 2006
James McCray, Jr. May 16, 2006 February 3, 2009
Tom Nolan February 3, 2009

* Although the city charter specifies that the MTA Board shall have a "chair," Flynn, Vaughns, McCray, and Nolan have all opted for the style "chairman."

List of Vice Chairmen of the SFMTA Board of Directors[edit]

Name Service Began Service Ended
Enid Ng Lim March 7, 2000 July 1, 2003
vacant July 1, 2003 January 20, 2004
Michael Kasolas January 20, 2004 March 1, 2007
vacant March 1, 2007 April 3, 2007
Tom Nolan April 3, 2007 February 3, 2009
James McCray, Jr. February 3, 2009 April 30, 2010
vacant April 30, 2010 May 4, 2010
Jerry Lee May 4, 2010 January 17, 2012
Cheryl Brinkman January 17, 2012

List of Chairs of the SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council[edit]

Name Service Began Service Ended
David Pilpel (acting) July 6, 2000 August 3, 2000
Linton H. Stables III August 3, 2000 July 11, 2002
Daniel Murphy July 11, 2002 July 11, 2013
Daniel Weaver July 11, 2013



External links[edit]