Examiner Editorial: Catching more Muni fare cheaters

Longtime Muni riders have been especially irritated at watching scofflaws sneak aboard rear exits with virtual impunity and evade fare payments that could help improve the erratic transit service. But Muni is now breaking all records for fare enforcement.

With the number of enforcement officers tripled to 51 in the past two years, Muni issued $35,000 worth of $50 tickets during the last quarter. The number of citations issued was 44.3 percent more than in the same period last year, and another 20 fare enforcers are being hired this fiscal year.

As satisfying as Muni’s sudden turnaround in the war against fare cheaters is, that is just one element of the bus and light-rail system’s surprise package of good news for the public. The 13.5 million more passengers in 2007-08 represent a 6.5 percent increase that delivered $8.1 million in additional fares into Muni coffers. Half of the increased fare revenue came from a 7.2 percent jump in monthly Fast Pass sales.

Tourism ridership also spiked as a slumping U.S. dollar brought bargain-seeking overseas visitors to The City. Sales of one-day and three-day passes were up by almost 25 percent, while cable-car fare revenues rose 8.5 percent.

If recognized macroeconomic pressures such as record-high gas prices and ballooning local bridge tolls are driving Muni’s passenger-fare boom, it also seems fair to credit the measurable performance improvement of San Francisco’s public-transit agency.

One reason Muni is carrying more riders is that it now provides more vehicles and more drivers. The fleet has climbed from 765 to 771 and Muni hires 20 to 30 operators every six weeks. This has cut the monthly missed-trip average from 7 percent to 2 percent on the rail lines and from 4 percent to 3 percent on bus and trolley routes since last year.

The Muni improvements are being guided by the Transit Effectiveness Project, the blueprint for last November’s Proposition A, through which city voters funneled$26 million for Muni reform coupled with additional resources. By working with the drivers’ union, Muni absenteeism has been reduced by one-third. Hundreds of Muni operators receiving workers’ compensation were either returned to work or removed from the payroll.

So it appears as if some of the promises made by Prop. A are starting to come true. And another important benefit is almost here, as Muni starts phasing in this month the long-awaited TransLink program, enabling Bay Area transit riders to use one computerized pass for all public transportation throughout the region’s nine counties.

 

editorialeditorialsMuniOpinion

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Anti-eviction demonstrators rally outside San Francisco Superior Court. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Report: Unpaid rent due to COVID-19 could be up to $32.7M per month

A new city report that attempts to quantify how much rent has… Continue reading

Music venues around The City have largely been unable to reopen due to ongoing pandemic health orders. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to cut $2.5M in fees to help 300 nightlife venues

San Francisco will cut $2.5 million in fees for hundreds of entertainment… Continue reading

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett departs the U.S. Capitol on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after Ginsburg’s death. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
GOP senators confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court in partisan vote

By Jennifer Haberkorn Los Angeles Times The Senate on Monday confirmed Judge… Continue reading

Curator Tim Burgard looks over a section of the galleries comprising “The de Young Open,” a huge, varied collection of work by Bay Area artists. (Photo courtesy Gary Sexton/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)
Bay Area artists jam-pack vivid ‘de Young Open’

Huge exhibition — with works for sale — showcases diversity, supports community

SF Board of Education vice president Gabriela Lopez and commissioner Alison Collins listen at a news conference condemning recent racist and social media attacks targeted at them and the two student representatives on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Online attacks on school board members denounced by city officials

City officials on Monday condemned the targeting of school board members, both… Continue reading

Most Read