Despite strong opposition by riders in recent public hearings, the MTA Board is planning to vote on proposed service cuts and fare increases to balance this year’s budget. SF Streetsblog has a good summary of what is scheduled.
In particular, the proposal does NOT include extended parking meter hours or meter enforcement on Sunday, but it does charge riders $70 per month for the privilege of using express routes and cable cars (over our opposition) and it increases senior, youth, and disabled monthly pass fares. It’s not clear if the same premium pass will also be available on BART, or if riders will need to buy multiple premium passes to ride expresses, cable cars, and BART – but regardless, this is a terrible proposal that moves Muni further away from providing universal service throughout the city, and completely ignores the Transit-First policy in the charter.
Also, a major reason for the immediate cuts is the decision by TWU Local 250A members to reject a proposed package of pension contributions and other work rule savings. Supervisor Elsbernd is proposing an amendment to the Charter that would repeal the salary floor that is there now, allowing the MTA to collectively bargain for wages as well as benefits and working conditions – we are watching this closely. But because the proposed concessions were rejected, they can’t be used to balance this year’s budget.
We urge all riders to attend Friday’s meeting (9am, City Hall Room 400) and urge a NO vote on this proposal. Sunday and evening meter hours are a much better way to solve the budget deficit for transit riders (and merchants also, who will benefit from higher turnover from their customers.)
Update: The Chronicle covered this today. Also, SPUR Director Gabriel Metcalf published an open letter to the Transport Workers Union in the Guardian urging them to vote in favor of work rule concessions.