By Dylan Fabris, SFTR Community and Policy Manager

For better or worse, 2024 is an election year, and as we get closer to November a few powerful people seem eager to use the SFMTA as a political football to advance their own agendas. From mayoral candidates, to business interests, to rich, techno-accelerationist CEOs, recent articles and Twitter threads attempt to paint the agency and its leadership as malicious forces on the city, hell-bent on inconveniencing San Franciscans and ruining our economy, for no other reason than to advance some secret “Big Bicycle” conspiracy. (Yes, you read that right. Side note: If there really is some big anti-car conspiracy being planned in this city, we, and our friends at the Bike Coalition, certainly haven’t gotten the memo.)

Here at San Francisco Transit Riders, we are no strangers to the shortcomings of the SFMTA. A major part of our role as public transportation advocates is to keep the agency in check and push back when it isn’t working in the best interest of the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on public transit in the city every day. That’s why earlier this year we fought against (and successfully reduced) proposed transit fare increases, and why, among other things, we continue to demand common-sense parking policy reform that can fund public transit and better adhere to our city’s Transit First mandate. The SFMTA should be doing more to prioritize public transit, prevent traffic deaths on our streets, and shift San Francisco away from the car-centric planning and politics that have been dominant in this city for decades. 

But when we hear people in power complain about the SFMTA, their critiques are rarely in line with our own vision of a transit-first city that’s accessible to all, and too often the SFMTA’s detractors fail to acknowledge the real positive changes the agency has recently implemented in a relatively short period of time. 

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