1 Burst results for "Jeffrey Tomlin"

The Public Transit Problem in San Francisco

The Indicator from Planet Money

05:19 min | 3 years ago

The Public Transit Problem in San Francisco

"As cities across the US. Start opening backup. There is a question looming over many of the country's biggest economies public transit trains. Subways and bus lines are crucial to cities like New York. Chicago and San Francisco but public transit tends to pack people together. It is basically a social distancing. Maher Jeffrey Tomlin is the director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency right now. Streetcars and rail systems in the city are not running and many bus routes have been shut down but as San Francisco starts to re-open Jeffery has to find a way to safely restart public transit. We call Jeffrey at his home. Or by the way it's a little spotty in places But if we are so thrilled to have you with US thank you for joining us So how long have you been with the San Francisco? Mta I started on December sixteenth was pretty intense first one hundred days. Oh my gosh you just started yes. I'm sorry that's A. That's a lot really fast. So Jeffrey. What steps did you take? The pandemic started Soon as the emergency order was issued a cut of military style strategic war room council gets formed and we formed that quickly knowing that the issues around the virus. We're going to hit our department. I so we put all that together at the end of February and then in a worm style. Like like in the movies really. Yeah I mean you know you're spaced out in a big conference room with whiteboards trying to figure out what on three going to so from what I understand. There are some cities that have opened up. And you've been kind of taking some inspiration from from cities like Taipei that have gotten their public transportation system up in running And I think I read that you had like a zoom call with the transit director in. Taipei's that right that's right in fact the mayor of Taipei Join US Which was a special treat Not only as a city are they reducing dramatically but they are having a very very low transmission rate on their public transit and they're public transit ridership is nearly back to a pre covet level. Oh so what are they doing? They have rigidly enforced Wearing a face coverings. They put up temperature checking stations at the fare gates before you get on the subway. Little infrared pens that like basically it goes near your forehead and it's an infrared reader off of your forehead so mask requirements temperature checks. What else are they doing? Contact tracing is a really really big deal and this is another area where we're going to struggle in the United States the the intensity of the contact tracing that they do in part because of the public surveillance cameras. How do you feel about the prospect of getting San Francisco Public Transit? Like ready for you know to have like it's normal. Seven hundred thousand people writing it. We know more now about how to protect our workers and so more workers are coming back to work on. That is the first step and then the second step is having that uncomfortable conversation with our city leaders. About how much are we prepared to enforce the rules so Jeffrey? A lot of the changes you're talking about would be quite expensive What is the San Francisco? Mta's budget situation so back in January separate Cisco's at the peak of a boom economy wealthier than it has ever been one of the wealthiest cities in the world and the Transportation Agency had a sixty million dollar structural deficit meaning. Our expenses were rising significantly faster than our revenue and we were going to have to cut something or find new revenue just in order to be able to keep swimming in place by the time shelter in place was ordered in mid March. Our primary revenue streams were down eighty to one hundred percent so the city is devastated economically and the transportation department more so at the moment than most other agencies because we are so dependent upon transit fares and parking fees and fines and all of those went zero. So that's the other thing that keeps me awake at night. How on Earth do I deliver service to the public in this time of intense need at the same time our revenue has completely collapsed and the absolute last thing that I want to do is to lay off a single worker in a time of economic crisis unprecedented since the Great Depression? We have to figure out what what gets cut a Ford to deliver the service that we had been delivering back in January and it will be a while before the city's economy comes back

San Francisco Maher Jeffrey Tomlin United States Taipei MTA Director Chicago Municipal Transportation Agenc New York Transportation Agency Jeffery Ford Cisco