Muni set to target fare dodgers 

click to enlarge All aboard: The SFMTA wants to hire 10 new fare inspectors to enforce proposed all-door boarding. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • All aboard: The SFMTA wants to hire 10 new fare inspectors to enforce proposed all-door boarding.

As Muni makes plans for the beginning of all-door boarding, the agency is warning its passengers that they better pay for their rides, or else face the consequences of a citation.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors is expected to ask the Board of Supervisors to amend The City’s transportation code to allow for the new boarding policy on its bus fleet.

The amended code will include a stipulation that passengers must swipe Clipper cards on the backdoor fare readers or show proofs of payment. Failure to do so could result in a $100 fare evasion citation.

SFMTA Executive Director Ed Reiskin said the policy would speed up Muni service, cut boarding time and improve reliability. However, some critics are concerned the all-door boarding could give scofflaws the opportunity to snag free rides.

Mario Tanev of the San Francisco Transit Riders Union, who has led the push for the policy, said he doesn’t think freeloaders will take advantage of the new rule.

Muni’s light-rail vehicles have had the all-door policy for years, and fare-evasion rates on those routes are lower than for buses, Tanev said. The SFMTA also will hire 10 new fare inspectors to patrol all-door boarders, and Reiskin said the agency will take all necessary steps to ensure that everyone pays their fare.

Overall, the SFMTA expects to lose $700,000 next year as a result of the plan. It will spend $900,000 to hire the new inspectors and recover about $200,000 in extra citation revenue.

The long-term effects of the plan could pay off big for Muni, which devotes 30 percent of its total operational time to passenger boarding. Speeding up Muni systemwide by 1 mph could result in $76 million in annual savings, according to a 2010 study.

“All-door boarding will improve reliability and the speed of travel,” Tanev said. “And that will bring more riders to the system.”

The agency’s board of directors approved the all-door policy April 17 as part of its two-year budget, but the Board of Supervisors must amend the code before the plan is implemented. Supervisors will vote before July 1.

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