Muni: Ridership Up 25% in 2023

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
(SFMTA Photograph)

(SFMTA Photograph)

Municipal Railway (Muni) public transit registered 433,000 riders in 2023, a 25% increase over 2022, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).

Ridership continues to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and ended last year with 71% of pre-pandemic (2019) ridership, reported SFMTA, which has oversight of Muni, including Muni Metro, Rapid Bus, Historic Streetcar, and Cable Car services (see map below). Weekday ridership is at 68% of 2019, while weekend ridership is at 86% of 2019. 

“Before the pandemic, downtown commutes were the backbone of Muni’s ridership, but with the shift to remote work, Muni has adapted its service to reflect changing ridership patterns, focusing on connecting neighborhoods,” SFMTA said. Ridership on five routes now exceeds pre-pandemic levels. These include:

  • 14 Mission Rapid weekday ridership in 2023 was up to 106% of 2019 levels, while weekend ridership was 117% of that year.
  • 22 Fillmore had 14,100 average weekend riders, or 138% of 2019, while it had 19,500 weekday riders, or 110% of 2019. 

Additionally, nearly half of all Bay Area transit trips are on Muni, according to data from SFMTA.

While ridership is increasing, delays are falling, thanks to the new subway fleet and SFMTA’s improved maintenance programs, the agency reported. “Major” subway delays fell 76% since 2019, and “short” delays dropped by 89% from that year. Meanwhile, headway adherence—ensuring that trains and buses are evenly spaced—rose 6% from 2022.

According to SFMTA, riders are noticing the improvements. In the agency’s most recent rider survey from 2022, two-thirds (66%) of respondents rated Muni service as “good” or “excellent,” a nine-point increase from 2021. In the 2023 community survey, 71% of respondents “approve of the job SFMTA is doing,” the agency said.

“Few cities have been more impacted by work-from-home than San Francisco. The loss of downtown commuters severely impacted Muni transit ridership and our finances,” SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin said. “Yet in many ways, Muni is back and better than ever, with ridership on lines like the 22-Fillmore at 138% of pre-COVID weekend numbers. We’ve done this by rearranging service to match today’s travel patterns, and a relentless focus on making transit: fast frequent reliable clean and safe.”

In related news, the Muni ATCS (Automatic Train Control System) replacement project is under way.


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