Muni Fare Evaders Are Responsible for Budget Crisis

Categories: Public Transit
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Muni wants riders to pay their fair share
Today, the Examiner tells us about how Muni riders are still blatantly skipping out on paying their bus fare, which is costing the transit agency some $19 million in lost revenue.

And to put that number into context, Muni's budget deficit this year is a staggering $21 million. That deficit potentially translates into fewer bus routes and crappier service.  

So doing some back-of-the-napkin calculations, we concluded that if everyone paid their fare for each trip on the bus, then the agency's budget gap would shrink to only a shade over $2 million.

"That's the math," says Paul Rose, spokesman for Muni. "I'd say $19 million is a big chunk of money that goes directly toward operating the Muni system."

Rose insists that things are getting better -- more people are paying fares than they were in previous years, thanks to those Muni officers who are writing tickets to fare thieves. A new report shows that in 2009 roughly 9.5 percent of Muni passengers boarded trains and buses without paying. That number dropped to 8.6 percent in 2010.

"Things are getting better," Rose tells SF Weekly. "We are using this opportunity to examine procedures and make any modifications going forward that might help."

Walter Scott, secretary-treasurer for the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, told the Ex that Muni cares more about getting trains moving on time than it does about tracking down fare thieves.

"Passengers have been skipping out on fares forever," he says. If Muni doesn't care, why should the operator risk his neck to collect a fare?

"Other transit agencies do not play with fare evaders, but our management has never had our back," Scott says.

And it's true -- Muni does have bigger (safety) problems to tackle, like doors opening while the Muni is moving, to name one.



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Fare evaders... Crap! I gave up riding MUNI because of being treated as a thief every time I rode. My wife, who usually has a BART/MUNI fastpass and only rarely rides MUNI, got a fare evasion ticket because her Clipper card apparently wasn't tagged when she boarded a streetcar... Thing beeped at her, and she thought it was ok... So, if you aren't a "pro", you can get a ticket from the Fare Cops even if you hadn't known you did something wrong or, perhaps, you were totally in the right and the little card tagger happened to be malfunctioning.Maybe they can balance the budget on this basis. Think of it as a lottery. Somethimes, just randomly, your MUNI fare will be $100...

njudah
njudah

If Muni collected more of what it was already owed, and did a better job of collecting money at parking meters, the last two fare increases would never have been needed.

When you see a bunch of bum kids stealing rides on Muni, they are stealing from YOU, and worse, they are stealing from the people who can afford expensive fares and crap service the least - those that are at the bottom of the economic ladder.

Seriously, you can't keep on stealing from a store and expect it to stay in business. We need to stop coddling the criminals and go back to this concept that if you want to live in a civilized city, you have to act civilized. If we wanna be all "ooh let's hang loose and not enforce laws" then be prepared to pay for the privilege and accept consequences.

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

Isn't Muni calling money they didn't bother to collect "lost revenue" sort of like the RIAA calling pirated music "lost sales"?

If the fare evaders had to pay, they might not have taken the bus in the first place.

fishsticks
fishsticks

That has ALWAYS been their excuse, but I wouldn't even ride the bus if I had to pay. It took 45 minutes to get from 26th street to 4th street on the 14 last night. What makes them think that anyone wants to pay for service like that?

Foo
Foo

Why didn't you take BART?

Duck
Duck

We need more MUNI police at popular stops to hand out tickets. I never see MUNI police checking transits anymore.

h. brown
h. brown

Cops as robbers,

Aaron Peskin's 'Prop A' of a couple of years ago did more than destroy our nation's best, taxi decal system. It also provided 25 million in new income for Muni. Which promptly gave 13 million of it to the cops yearly.

Yeah, the cops don't ride Muni. Everyone know that. Oh, maybe a cameo appearance now and then for PR. But, they at least didn't bill Muni for their non-appearances. Nope, not a dime. Now, they bill Muni millions and millions.

The real thieves stealing Muni funds are carrying guns and badges.

Go Giants!

h.

triple0
triple0

Wait, it's not the 290,000 un-metered parking spots that MTA has to spend staff time, equipment, and energy cleaning and maintaining -- at no cost to drivers...?

Guest
Guest

So your solution to solving the muni budget crisis is to charge the people who don't ride the bus (instead of getting all passengers to pay the fare)....brilliant!!!! Great use of logical misdirection.

triple0
triple0

No -- the SFMTA spends far more than $21 million a year to mitigate all the costs managing the 290,000 private auto parking spots. But, instead of asking drivers to pay their fair share, they cut Muni and raise fares and blame fare cheats.

Akit
Akit

That's always been Muni's excuse in the news media, fare evasion is the leading cause of the budget deficit.

It makes me wonder, how many of those who enters the back door of a bus is actually holding a transit pass? On the 38-Geary in the Richmond, it's normally about 75%.

Cruznf
Cruznf

Is that Sup. Weiner in the foreground?

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