Photo by Troy Holden
Beth is surely onto something here. Muni buses have the readers in the back, but the agency requires us to board buses in the front (Muni Metro LRVs and F-Market streetcars are different). We called to get a better idea of when, if ever, Muni will do the smart thing and enact back-door boarding. We’ll let you know what they say. Meantime, here’s Beth’s diary …
My family and I visited Zurich not that long ago, where I learned quite a bit about things that make public transit work well, one of which is letting people board at the back or the front, whichever’s quicker. This works well there because a) they pay before they board, and b) the fine for not having your proof of payment on you is something upwards of $300. So there aren’t a lot of fare evaders.
Today, I boarded a 14 going north on Mission. I started to get on at the back doors and a fare inspector waved me to the front. I showed him my Translink card and he shook his head, saying no, I can’t board in the back. Clearly he wasn’t getting the picture.
I said, “I can tag in right there. It’ll be a lot quicker.” I pointed at the transponder.
It was like a light bulb went on over his head. He nodded and let me get on.
Really, I shouldn’t have to explain to a Muni employee how this works. Right?
I get that Muni has problems with fare evasion. If you’re not going to encourage Translink users — which is going to be all of us, pretty soon — to use the transponders at the back of the bus, then why are they even there? Card users could board at the back while cash fares could board at the front. It would be SO much quicker. On-time rates would improve.
Oh well. It’s rare that there’s a fare inspector on the bus, so I’ll keep tagging in at the back whenever I can.