SFMTA is including in its budget proposals a suggestion to charge six dollars for a ride on the F-Market line, the same as the cable cars. This is a terrible idea! The F-line is vital public transportation for the Market Street and Embarcadero corridors, for tens of thousands of commuters (18,520 in 2006 when the TEP research was done) as well as tourists, many of whom pay cash. We stand with Market Street Railway in urging SFMTA not to target one specific set of riders for fare increases!
The SFMTA might receive $6.7m out of $15m allocated by the MTC for introducing new riders to the system. Those funds could be allocated to the defunct free youth ride program, which would create a 22-month pilot program to give free passes to 40,000 of the city’s low income youth. The SFMTA would still need to put in $4.4m of the $9m plan.
“With the funds specifically available for the program, it could be up and running by early next year”, said Supervisor David Campos. SFMTA board Chairman Tom Nolan says that the money could be better spent elsewhere in the system, and SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said the agency won’t make a decision until after the Oct 24th vote.
In SFGate’ open forum, SF Supervisor Scott Wiener says that Muni simply can’t afford to shell out $8M for free rides for all youth’s when the SFMTA doesn’t even have the funding to provide essential operations and maintenance. Supervisor Wiener says that Muni needs to focus on having a more reliable system first, and that “Every time the system melts down because a switch fails, a vehicle door won’t close, stairs won’t rise, or a derailment occurs, you can be assured that the problem results from Muni not having the funds to maintain its infrastructure properly.”
The new proposed youth pass would be $5, offered free for qualified low income youth, and free for all youth. Supervisor David Campos is proposing the measure, which would cost $8m a year with a 2 or 3 year pilot program. Maylor Lee supports the proposal as long as the funding source is stable and does not impact the SFMTA’s budget.
62% of all trips in the city are made with cars, a factor that the MTA would like to see shrink to 50% by the end of the decade, reports the Chronicle. This is one of the goals of the agency’s 6 year strategic plan, adopted on Tuesday. The cost of the changes will set the agency back $87m, a gap that is yet to find funding. “To have a world-class transportation system that people want to use, we have to be resourced adequately,” said SFMTA’s Ed Reiskin. This will be a challenging goal for the MTA, with a budget gap of $28 million this fiscal year, $34 million next year and $46 million after that.