SFMTA banking more citation cash 

Muni fare inspectors have been redeployed in the 10 months since an audit found the evasion-enforcement program was riddled with inefficiencies, a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency official said Thursday.

About 10 months ago, city Budget Analyst Harvey Rose’s audit found the transit agency’s proof-of-payment program lacked clear objectives, was not being evaluated, workers were not checking for fares and the enforcement was “out of sync” with the system’s highest ridership times.

Since then, resources have been better deployed and citation revenue has improved, according to James Dougherty, SFMTA director of safety and security enforcement. Since July, there were 1,276,593 fare inspections resulting in 18,821 citations and 14,308 warnings. So-called saturation inspections resulted in 9,348 citations during the same time period.

“The dust has settled. More than 40 percent of the recommendations that were made as a result of this audit have been implemented,” Supervisor Bevan Dufty said during Thursday’s Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee meeting.

Dufty said he requested the audit when it was reported that the SFMTA was losing $11 million annually in fare evasions, and he was pleased to see improvements.

“We certainly want to effectively and efficiently deploy our staff,” Dougherty said. “We just redistributed our resources to peak ridership times as recommended in the study, and we are actually looking at deploying resources on the most-active bus and rail lines — that being where we have identified the greatest degree of fare evasion.”

Supervisor Carmen Chu questioned why the transit agency was only collecting 60 percent of the revenue from citations. Dougherty said it was his understanding that the collection rate is similar to other transit agencies and added that the revenue from the citations are up to roughly $900,000 at this point in time.

The SFMTA’s operations are expected to undergo more scrutiny by the Board of Supervisors as the agency looks to finalize a budget for next fiscal year, which the board has the power to reject. The budget must be finalized by May 1.



Cracking down on fare evaders

The latest audit of the SFMTA’s proof of payment program for Muni — using data from July 20 to March 19 — showed an improvement from a report 10 months ago.

1,276,593: Number of inspections

18,821: Total citations issued

18,125: Citations issued to adults

696: Citations issued to juveniles

14,308: Warnings resulting in payment of fare, or person exiting station or vehicle

60 percent: Estimated collection rate of citation revenue

46: Number of fare inspectors

5: Number of supervisors of fare inspectors

Source: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency


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