Supervisor Scott Wiener Wants Sports and Music Fans to Pay More to Help Muni
If you're still recovering from the fact you had to dip into your savings to see the Rolling Stones play in San Francisco earlier this month, well consider yourself lucky that you didn't have to shell out even more money for your ride to the show.
This train is so old you'd think it was going to Woodstock
Supervisor Scott Wiener today is planning to ask his colleagues to consider a new plan to tack on extra fees for anyone who is buying a ticket to a sporting event, concert, or any other major event. Those extra fees would go toward Muni.
First step is to have the controller assess this transit surcharge, looking at a range of fees that would generate more money for Muni which badly needs the cash to replace the light-rail vehicles that are getting kinda dumpy.
Wiener noted that as it stands, Muni is overworked and underpaid (sound familiar?). It's especially taxed when there's a Giants game and fans literally pile in the trains to catch a glimpse of Lincecum's new haircut.
"With the addition of the new arena, the strain on Muni service will be even more severe. Now is the time to shore up the system so that people can easily get to sports and concert events, while everyone else in the city can get where they're going," Wiener said in a statement. "The two shouldn't be mutually exclusive."
A modest fee should resolve that problem, he says.
Preliminary estimates show that this "modest fee" would raise between $3 million and $22 million annually for Muni reliability, of course, totally depending on the size of the events and the level of surcharge assessed. But those numbers were calculated based on a fee ranging from $1 to $3 for events that had between 1,000 and 5,000 people.
To put these annual amounts in context, an extra $22 million would allow Muni to buy four brand-new light rail vehicles a year or rehabilitate 18 annually. As of now, the transit agency has no spare light-rail vehicles, which explains a lot.
Venues to be included in the Controller's study: AT&T Park and the proposed Warriors arena -- which have estimated combined attendances over 5.5 million; large outdoor festivals like Outside Lands and Treasure Island Music Festival, which draw over 200,000 attendees annually; and several entertainment venues like the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and the Fillmore, which draw up to a combined 1.6 million people per year.
"Right now Muni is at a breaking point," Wiener astutely noted.
Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated the additional fees would be tacked onto Muni tickets. The fees will be added to event tickets upon purchase. Those fees will then be used for Muni.