San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)
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
Agency executives Edward D. Reiskin, Director of Transportation
Tom Nolan, Chairman, SFMTA Board of Directors
Child agency San Francisco Municipal Railway

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (also known as 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.[1] 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.[2][3] 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.[4]

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[5] except for Director Joél Ramos, initially appointed by Mayor Edwin Lee.[6]

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.[7]


Muni Transit Statistics

The SFMTA Tranportation Fact Sheet[8] (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
Regular Fast-Pass Cost $60
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 (Metro) 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

  • Tom Nolan, Chairman
  • Jerry Lee, Vice Chairman
  • Malcolm Heinecke
  • Bruce Oka
  • Cheryl Brinkman
  • Leona Bridges
  • Joél Ramos

Board Secretary: Roberta Boomer

  • Policy & Governance Committee: Lee (Chair), Brinkman, Oka

SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council

  • Daniel Murphy, Chair
  • Daniel Weaver, Vice Chair
  • Art Cimento
  • Joan Downey
  • Dorris Vincent
  • Steve Ferrario
  • Mary F. Burns
  • Jamison Wieser
  • Susan Vaughan
  • Katie Haverkamp
  • Mark Ballew
  • Marc Salomon

(3 vacancies)

Council Secretary: Yvette Torres

  • Engineering, Maintenance, & Safety Committee: Weaver (chair), Ferrario, Wieser
  • Finance & Administration Committee: Murphy (chair), Vaughan
  • Operations & Customer Service Committee: Downey (chair), Murphy, Burns
  • Taxicab Committee: Burns (chair), Murphy

List of Directors of Transportation* of the SFMTA

Name Service Began Service Ended
Michael T. Burns 7 March 2000 15 July 2005
Stuart Sunshine (acting) 15 July 2005 17 January 2006
Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr. 17 January 2006 30 June 2011
Debra A. Johnson (acting) 1 July 2011 14 August 2011
Edward D. Reiskin 15 August 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.[9] When Edward D. Reiskin took office in 2011, he opted to use only the position's official title.[10]

List of Chairmen* of the SFMTA Board of Directors

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

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

List of Chairs of the SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council

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


  • Upon the departure of Director Shirley Breyer Black in April 2010, none of the original members of the SFMTA Board remain in office.
  • Former SFMTA Board member Shirley Breyer Black is the aunt of United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and United States District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer.
  • Muni's Flynn Division is named for former SFMTA Board chair H. Welton Flynn.
  • SFMTA Board Chairman Tom Nolan, before moving to San Francisco, was a member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, and was the first openly gay member of that body.
  • SFMTA Board member Bruce Oka is the only SFMTA Board member to have served on both the SFMTA Board and the SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council.
  • Former SFMTA Board member Leah Shahum is the current Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
  • The late Director Cameron Beach was, before joining the SFMTA Board the chief operating officer of the Sacramento Regional Transit District and vice president of the Market Street Railway.
  • Former SFMTA Board member José Cisneros was later appointed, and subsequently elected, to the position of city Treasurer & Tax Collector.

External links



  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ November 2007 Proposition A
  8. ^ (p. 5 of linked pdf)
  9. ^
  10. ^

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