Cable car ticket buying may become electronic 

Ticket-vending machines could be installed along cable car routes in a move that would relieve operators from collecting fares.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency leaders said Tuesday they’re examining the idea off installing pay stations in the wake of city audits that revealed cable car operators are failing to collect the $5 fee from four out of every 10 passengers.

The transit agency is researching ticket-vending machines that would be similar to those at AT&T Park that dispense Giants tickets, said Sonali Bose, SFMTA chief financial officer.

The SFMTA is looking to include vending machines in various locations along the cable car routes, not just at turnaround points,
Bose said.

“We’re evaluating where we might do it,” she said.

There’s the question, however, of whether implementing such a system would be worth it. On Tuesday, the SFMTA disputed the city controller’s report, which had undercover auditors hopping onto cable cars and recording whether they were asked to pay.

In the latest audit, they took 15 rides during an 11-day period, said John Haley, SFMTA director of transit operations. An internal transit agency audit covering 800 rides in a two-week period showed that less than 5 percent of passengers got away with free rides, Haley said.

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