Audit: cable car operators don’t collect fares from 1 in 4 riders

Cable car operators don’t collect fares from one out of every four riders, according to a city audit released Monday.

The audit found operators are failing to collect $1,171 in the 100 rides surveyed, according to the City Controller’s Office. Extrapolated systemwide, that could mean the loss of big bucks on the tourist-heavy transit option.

The City collected nearly $7 million in cash from cable car riders in the 2017-2018 fiscal year alone.

But, although the City Controller’s Office found cable car operators deficient in their collection duties in 2017-2018, they had improved since the last time such an audit was conducted. About 2.5 fares per ride were not collected during the most recent audit, compared to about 6 fares not collected per audited ride in fiscal year 2016-2017, according to the controller’s office.

SEE RELATED: Muni to conduct undercover stings of its own cable car conductors after scathing report

Though cash has consistently not been collected in these audits, that may not be a problem soon, as the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced it would move by 2019 to a cashless system for cable cars requiring riders to pre-pay before boarding. That announcement came after the San Francisco Police Department arrested two cable car operators for allegedly stealing cash fares in April last year. They are pending trial, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

SEE RELATED: Cable cars may go cashless after second conductor arrested for allegedly stealing fares

Investigators found $32,000 in a safe at the home of one of the operators, David Reyes, who police saw pocketing $450 on cable cars over two months.

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez
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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

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