Higher Fares and Fees Proposed for Next Year’s MTA Budget

March 30th, 2008

Adult Fast PassOn the agenda for Tuesday’s board meeting: a budget for the next two fiscal years (as required by last year’s Proposition A), with several fare and fine increases to cover a two-year operating deficit of $81 million. Most notable for Muni riders is a proposed $10 increase in the monthly Fast Pass, and a $5 increase in the discounted pass, beginning in 2009. However, it appears that cash fares won’t go up – so more riders will pay cash, which is exactly opposite of London’s strategy to move riders to passes to speed boarding. Parking fees are also proposed to increase.

More details as we see the exact budget proposal, but an initial recommendation: make it easier to get a fast pass! Muni needs to encourage more people to use passes, not more difficult and expensive. Many other systems let you buy a monthly pass via vending machines that take credit cards; only Muni forces you to go to a corner store, and hope they haven’t run out (see one blogger’s comment on this), or remember to order online during a twelve day window.

Update: Matier and Ross comment on the proposed expired meter fine, noting that it might scare away downtown shoppers – of course, ignoring entirely those shoppers who take mass transit.

Update 2: The MTA is expecting to raise $100M per year from parking fines from this year’s budget, spending it mainly on filling staffing shortages to improve service.

Bike Plan Open House Tonight

March 26th, 2008

Many Muni riders also ride bikes, or would like to, if it weren’t so dangerous. If this describes you, tonight’s Bike Plan Open House should be of interest to you. SFMTA has been working on a comprehensive Bike Plan for SF for some years now, and although it has been delayed by a lawsuit, it’s now ready for public input. Among the proposals: bike access to Muni light rail vehicles, as is available now in San Jose and Sacramento. (Our friends at the SF Bike Coalition have been deeply involved in this process.)

The open house is today, March 26, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the 101 Grove Street (Health Department) auditorium. Civic Center Muni/BART station is nearby, along with many other lines.

Make Art From Those Expired Fast Passes

March 25th, 2008

Adult Fast PassWhat to do with your Muni pass once the month is up? Send it to John Kuzich for his art project, profiled today in the Chronicle. No word as to whether parking cards and expired TransLink Pilot Program cards are also accepted.

Late Night Muni Metro Service Resumes Tonight; Also, Fares/Fines Hearing April 1

March 24th, 2008

Rider Alert 1No more replacement buses, at least for a while: the Twin Peaks Tunnel project is done as of today, so Muni Metro service is back until 1 am (or close to it, check schedules and NextBus).

Also, plan now for a SFMTA hearing on fares and fines April 1, at the regularly scheduled MTA Board meeting. Due to budget shortfalls, the MTA is again considering fare and parking/traffic fine increases.

SFTEP: Proposed Reductions in Service; Hearing Today

March 4th, 2008

Today’s Chronicle discusses the downside of increasing service on the proposed Rapid Network, as proposed by the Transit Effectiveness Project: service reductions on some of SF’s least used lines, as well as on lines that are redundant to other service.

The SFTEP will be presented in detail at today’s MTA Board meeting (2 pm, City Hall, room 400), but if you can’t make that there will be many opportunities to get a detailed presentation, ask questions, and provide feedback. Rescue Muni is planning to host a General Meeting on the subject in early April.