All-door Muni boarding hasn’t encouraged no-fare scofflaws 

click to enlarge Despite fears of the all-door boarding policy, SFMTA saw a 19% increase in fare revenue from July 2011 when there was only front-door boarding. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Despite fears of the all-door boarding policy, SFMTA saw a 19% increase in fare revenue from July 2011 when there was only front-door boarding.

Although it’s still early, the fears that Muni would be overrun by freeloaders due to its new all-door boarding policy are thus far unfounded.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency reported about $13.9 million in fare revenue for July, a 19 percent increase from the prior July, when passengers only boarded at the front of buses.

The boost was likely due to a recent $2 increase to the price of Muni’s monthly pass and greater integration of the Clipper card among adult and youth riders, spokesman Paul Rose said. The numbers also show no precipitous drop in farebox revenue, which some had feared.

“It’s too early to say for sure, but based on a one-month comparison, all-door boarding does not appear to have a negative impact on revenue,” Rose said.

The San Francisco Transit Riders Union lobbied hard for the all-door boarding policy, citing the feature’s success overseas. Spokesman Ben Kaufman said the first month’s fare revenue numbers indicate a promising start for the policy.

“The SFMTA instills this trust in its riders, and the riders understand that this is an honor-system situation that will contribute to the betterment of Muni,” Kaufman said. “That trust gives people more incentive to pay their fares.”

Muni implemented its all-door boarding policy July 1 as a method to improve its transit speeds. Lengthy boarding times are a prime contributor to Muni’s notoriously slow service, and improving the process could pay off big for the agency.

According to a 2010 report, speeding up Muni service systemwide by 1 mph could save the agency $76 million a year.

Muni has employed an all-door boarding policy on its light-rail vehicles for more than a decade, but last month the agency became the first in the country to use the system on its buses.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Revenue Comparison

July 2011 July 2012
Transit passes: $6,137,712 $7,467,120
Cash fares: $5,565,188 $6,507,449
Total: 
$11,702,900 $13,974,569

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Will Reisman

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