Fare boxes require costly repairs

Nearly $2 million each year is lost as a result of Muni’s aging fare-collection boxes, according to a city report.

But $19 million in state funding will pay for a major fare-box refurbishment that will ultimately ensure “100 percent working fare boxes in all our fleets,” said Kenneth McDonald, chief operating officer for SFMTA, which oversees Muni.

Muni’s 17-year-old fare boxes come with a life expectancy of 10 years, and are now costing the agency about $750,000 per year to repair and up to $2 million in lost fares, according to a Budget Analyst report.

“MTA estimates that approximately 20 percent, or 40 fare boxes, are so defective that they cannot be repaired in the field and therefore cannot accept any cash fares while the Muni vehicle is operating,” the report said.

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee approved the $19 million spending plan Wednesday. The funding will also go toward improvements to money-collection practices as well as an improved computer system to track ridership data.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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