San Francisco’s transit agency will study charging for evening parking meters and may charge 25 cents extra for Muni riders who pay with cash as part of its $1 billion budget that was approved Tuesday evening.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors approved the 2017-2018 budget Tuesday, after a round of multiple public meetings and online feedback sessions with the public.
A slew of new revenue-raising measures were enacted, including increasing Muni’s discounted fares on people with disabilities (who do not qualify for free Muni) to gain $1.5 million annually. The Muni monthly pass, which also allows BART rides, will increase by $5 to raise $700,000 a year.
The SFMTA took hits too, expanding the definition of youth for discounts from 17 years old to 18 years old, which will cost of $2.2 million a year; and providing a 50 percent discount on Muni tokens and passes to nonprofit agencies at a cost of $1 million a year. The agency will spend an extra $6 million toward its state of good repair and maintenance, and $2 million more toward “sustainable streets,” which includes enforcement, parking meter and data analysis efforts.
Also included in the budget was an item to study “parking management,” which the SFMTA said would include studying charging for evening parking meters. The San Francisco Examiner first reported this proposal last month.
“Parking management is somewhere we can both address policy needs” and revenue, said Peter Straus, and advocate from the San Francisco Transit Riders group.
Perhaps the most controversial new provision in SFMTA’s budget is a proposal to charge Muni riders an additional 25 cents for those using cash, versus Clipper Cards. The SFMTA has said previously that boarding with cash slows down the entire Muni system, a cost that was not calculated by the agency, board members said.
“I have really big concerns” about the 25 cent surcharge, Board Director Cristina Rubke said Tuesday.
She was not alone. David Pilpel told board members during public comment that the 25 cent surcharge was more accurately called a “fare increase.”
“I don’t think this proposed change was well communicated to passengers,” he said, calling it “unfair.”
Board Director Malcolm Heinicke said use of cash slows down Muni. Joel Ramos, another board director, said he supported the surcharge.
“Why I can move forward with that in good conscience is we have a paradigm shift” in helping low income communities, like Free Muni for Youth program and the Free Muni for Seniors and People with Disabilities program, Ramos said.
“We’re the envy of the nation for having those programs,” Ramos added, but, “those programs aren’t free. In order to accommodate that, something’s gotta give.”
The board unanimously approved the budget, including the 25 cent cash surcharge. The budget will go to The City’s Board of Supervisors for final approval.