Fair Inspectors Returning!!

DonRoss's picture

It has always baffled me that in our City that does so much for its citizenry, that people feel that it is their right to ride MUNI for free. Yes the MUNI drivers have been the focus of Sean Elsbernds FixMUNI Now, but how about the cheats, the downright criminals, that walk onto the back of the bus, or walk through the MUNI subway gates without paying? The reality is, MUNI loses $12-$15 million a year from people who do not pay, and coincidentally MUNI is always in the red by this amount.

85% of MUNI's revenue comes from Fast Pass purchasers and the rest from fare collection.  In all my travels and all my time spent in other cities around the world, I have never seen people cheat and not pay as much as San Francisco. So I think it is time they redouble their efforts and make everyone pay. This should be one of the top priorities of any elected officials or management to making MUNI better.

Lucy in the sky's picture

Free Rides Coming To An End

I couldn't agree more.  One of life's early lessons comes in the form of not cheating and stealing.  And it seems that there are some MUNi riders that have taken to disregarding those lessons.  What may seem like just one free ride can add up this reminds me of an old Spanish expression " Justos pagan por pecadores" in other words those who follow the rules pay for other peoples's mistakes.  This is not right I wholeheartedly support this effort and hope that those caught will learn their lesson or begin walking.

webdog's picture

For safety's sake

Enforcing Proof of Payment is the single most important thing Muni can do to improve rider safety.

DonRoss's picture

For Safety's Sake

I would almost guess, that many times the people causing alot of the problems are those who are not paying.  Cracking down on cheats will help to reduce crime in other ways as well.

gcotter's picture

Free Muni?


An alternative might be to make Muni free.  I posted a note on this topic under the Transportation discussion called "Public Transport Tickets.  I'm cutting/pasting my original note here since it relates to fares and I'd love to hear your thoughts:

**** cut and paste follows *****


I am raising this subject just to generate discussion - it isn't something I feel strongly about one way or another.

Has anyone considered making Muni free?  It seems that one of the biggest complaints is that there is lots of fare evasion and people who pay their fares resent seeing people ride for free.  If there were no fees and everyone rode for free then this major complaint would go away.

So what are some pros and cons?

PROS:   1. No more complaints about fare evaders.  2. no need to buy and maintain fare collection boxes.  3. Eliminate the cost of printing transfers, fast passes, etc.  4. Eliminate the cost of distributing fast passes to stores . 5. Eliminate the cost of emptying fare boxes, tallying fares, and all the associated costs of processing fares.  6. Eliminate the cost of collecting fast pass money from vendors plus the overhead of tracking those monies.  7. Lower frustration for drivers since they don't need to enforce fares.   8. Faster on-loading of passengers.  9. Substantial increase in ridership - free is a great price. 10.  Reduced automobile traffic because a free bus system is cheaper than gas and auto wear and tear.

CONS:   1. Lose all current revenue.  2. Lost revenue may exceed savings created by eliminating fares.  3. No way to keep homeless people, panhandlers, etc off since they could ride all day and night for free (unless some strictly enforced rules were enacted).  4. Loss of numerous Muni jobs related to: fare box maintenance, printing of transfers and passes, bookkeeping for fares and passes, jobs related to fare enforcement, jobs related to selling/distributing fast passes.  5.  Elimination of all these jobs/salaries/benefits may not offset loss of revenue. (Well, that's just a restatement of #2 I guess)

While it might appear that there are more pros than cons, the cons are pretty significant - especially the $$$$$.  On the other hand, most of the problems relating to fare evasion would require lots of $$$$$ to address and we'd never get rid of all fare evaders, so eliminating fares altogether will cost money, but so would trying to collect fares from fare evaders.

One possibility would be to break Muni into two separate businesses with "Free Muni" supplies by the city, and "Pay Busses" owned and operated by a for profit company.  Personally I think the political and logistical ramifications of that idea would be a nightmare, but it is an idea that should be out on the table.

Anyway, what do others think?  Anyone interested in doing some cost analysis on what it would net out if we simply made Muni free and got rid of all the infrastructure around fares and passes?

Zaquex's picture

We Need a Money Tree!

The figure for money lost is actually greater--$19 million. As of now, fare inspectors have boarded the back of some buses, but this cannot be practiced in every single bus. How much would that even cost?!

The other idea as previously mentioned would be to make MUNI free, but who would take the burden? Though many residents of San Francisco use MUNI, a great portion of users include those who do not live in the city.

Another option is to change the design of the bus itself, and possible the city's street MUNI platforms. This process would also cost a great deal of money. The buses would be redesigned on only let passengers on (the right side) while passengers getting off would exit via doors (on the left side) onto raised platforms, or fenced areas. These raised platforms or fenced areas would have turnstiles operating in one (obvious) direction.

The last option is to have all-doors boarding, which would require fare collectors at each opening.

Would hiring fare police or fare collectors at each opening justify or make up the revenue missed by fare evaders?

jyasskin's picture

Re: For safety's sake

Got any evidence of that, or are you just guessing?

NinerFan's picture

Last Friday, there were about

Last Friday, there were about 5 MTA police waiting for fare evaders at the bus stops around the Glen Park BART.  They would catch about 4-5 people each time a bus would stop.  I applaud these efforts and would love to see them continue. 

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137