Ed Reiskin Is Muni's New Boss

Categories: Public Transit
Oily bus.jpg
Jim Herd
It's all yours, Ed
The Chronicle's sources are saying that Ed Reiskin will take the wheel of the Municipal Transportation Agency -- and our sources are saying their sources are right. 

This is not exactly a shocking development -- Reiskin has, all along, been the heir apparent. As of today, you can take away the apparent. The city's current public works czar, incidentally, has no experience in the realm of transit. It's almost as if the Giants were to obtain, say, Albert Pujols -- then ask him, "So, can you pitch?"

The big question is, does it matter? 

Folks we spoke with at Muni were willing to give Reiskin the benefit of the doubt. His reputation for competence and possessing the ability to manage large departments outweighs the fact he may not know transit jargon like "route variant" or "radial system." Muni already has a transit director in John Haley. Does it need another? The truth is, Muni's collective morale is lower than a kneeling bus (look it up, Ed). Having a manager who can actually manage could do something about that. 

There are drawbacks, however. 

Ed Reiskin and daughter.jpg
Ed Reiskin isn't like most San Franciscans. He's raising a family here, for one. And he's Muni's CEO.
No one taking the job of MTA CEO is going to get the brass ring without drinking the Central Subway Kool-Aid. Reiskin, undoubtedly, will be put work in pushing the wholly misbegotten debacle in the making

However deft Reiskin's managerial touch, building, maintaining, and stocking the new subway line will be like administering poison to Muni's system. It will bleed an already stretched agency of money and manpower. Reiskin's job -- and that of his successors -- will become even more difficult. 

Certainly there are elements within the transit community that may have been hoping Muni tabbed a less competent manager who might have somehow blown this project. It doesn't appear that's how it's going to work out. 

Muni folks are willing to take a good manager with no transit experience over a bad one with a wealth of transit experience (Nat Ford had transit experience -- 'nuff said). As for what mayor will be leaning on Reiskin and the MTA's ever-pliant board of directors -- all that will be revealed in time. 

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Matt Spencer
Matt Spencer

So when it comes to "experience" what would you prefer?

A) People who have experience managing transit agencies but who don't actually ride those systems, don't live in the jurisdiction of the system, and are only there to take home a whopping paycheck, or

B) People who may not have managed a transit system, but actually live in the city, have demonstrated their management skills in other massive city departments in charge of infrastructure/large staffs, and who best of all actually ride transit system regularly, by choice, and know it.

Most Muni workers live outside of SF and don't use transit.  Hopefully Ed will be able to change that culture.


Streetsblog reports that Reiskin hasn't owned a car since 1991, so hopefully that'll be a good thing. 


He can't be any worse than the last idiot we had.

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