Muni will be increasing cash fares by 25 cents, starting on Jan. 1. (Cindy Chew/2010 S.F. Examiner)

Muni to raise price of fares, monthly passes on Jan. 1

Pop your corks, deck your halls, and get ready to pay more for Muni service in 2017.

On Jan. 1 the Muni adult monthly “A” pass, which includes BART rides within San Francisco, will jump from $86 to $91 a month. Discount monthly passes for youths, seniors, people with disabilities and those on Medicare will jump from $25 to $36.

Notably, some 60,000 low-income youths, seniors and people with disabilities receive free Muni service — and the youth discount age limit will be extended from 17 to 18 on Jan.1.

Controversially, Muni cash fares are going up 25 cents to $2.50, from $2.25, and discount cash fares from $1 to $1.25 in what the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said was a way to move people away from cash, and onto digital means of payment.

Clipper cards and MuniMobile, an SFMTA smartphone app, are cheaper and more efficient ways to collect fares, agency staff said have said, and more digital payment translates to streamlined, faster transit service.

There was some pushback from the SFMTA Board of Directors initially, as Vice Chair Cheryl Brinkman worried this would create a two-tiered Muni system.

Because so many Muni riders live in poverty, she said in a February meeting, “it feels a little scary to me. I don’t want to penalize our lower-income riders like that.”

On its website, the SFMTA addressed the cash surcharge. “The idea behind the 25-cent discount for single-trip fares paid with a Clipper card or our MuniMobile smartphone app is to encourage Muni riders to use more efficient, convenient and safer payment systems. Other transit agencies have implemented similar programs to help make service faster and more reliable while cutting costs.”

The SFMTA approved the agency’s budget, including the 25-cent fare hike on cash riders, earlier this year. The monthly pass cost increases were made to “recover more of the costs paid to BART to provide these passes,” according to the SFMTA.

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