A note from our Executive Director, Vinita Goyal:
In my eleventh week within my permanent role at SFTR, it has been truly gratifying to think strategically of SFTR’s priorities nested within the approaches for addressing systemic disparities. We believe these will ultimately rest on the successful triangulation of three outcomes: building political will, aligning community resources, and facilitating capacity and leadership development.
In that regard, we have been corralling resources to build SFTR’s skillsets and expertise for both short- and long-term policy engagement. Our Advocacy Director, Zack Deutsch-Gross has been instrumental in prioritizing transit equity outcomes within the Sales Tax Reauthorization Expenditure Plan that will be next going through the approval process with the Board of Supervisors. Our eyes are also set on the General Obligation Bond related ballot measure coming to voters in June. These will be crucial in addressing SFMTA’s capital deficit. To address Muni’s deficit in operations that exacerbated during the pandemic we are aligning efforts for a regional transportation measure currently being slated as a ballot measure in 2024. We are also excited about SFMTA’s Muni Forward 2.0 priorities and the specific announcement on prioritization of the T-Line as it allows us to embed that effort within the larger process of empowering the Bayview-Hunters Point community in its demands for near-term place-based investments in the neighborhood and for restoring the community’s trust in our transit agency.
We are anchoring these two pillars of our work on capacity building and leadership development opportunities for our 600+ members, you all, and the larger rider community that we represent, the over 250,000 people that take transit in San Francisco everyday. We are doing this both through direct organizing and amplifying riders’ voices and lived experiences, but also by working within a broader “ecosystem” of advocates and non-profits such as the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, SOMCAN, Chinatown Community Development Corporation, and B-Magic, who connect us with community needs. And also with our school district, for instance, where our community organizer B-Rod Betata has been engaging with high school youth to be transit leaders in their communities. Our members have already voiced concerns about fares’ indexing currently under consideration in SFMTA and are pushing for more progressive revenue streams such as through expanded parking fees over weeknights and weekends.
For me personally, seeking alignment with our board and staff on these priorities has been very fulfiling and I am excited about rolling out our Strategic Plan further in service of these. (Read our Streetsblog coverage for more).
Amidst all these, we are also making sure that we are pausing, to celebrate our wins: the J-Church reopening recently yes, and the Van Ness BRT arriving in April, but to also offer solidarity to our drivers: on Transit Driver Appreciation Day on March 18. Please join us!
As we come marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill-lofts gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing, “Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.”
James Oppenheim, 1911.
And please be safe! A reminder that there is no place for harassment or violence on transit. If you experience an issue, please contact SFMTA at the San Francisco Customer Service Center by calling 311 within the city or 415.701.2311 outside of San Francisco.