Muni Promises Another Crackdown on Fare-Evasion

"Sir, You Are Not Allowed To Take Pictures On Muni Property!!"
Photo by Plug1

Muni wants your two dollars. Seriously.

The city is losing “tens of millions of dollars a year” due to fare evasion, and the agency is going to step up in collecting fare, says Transportation chief Nathaniel Ford.

Well, duh.

As SFist wisely pointed out, you can probably figure out that fare evasion is a big problem if you’ve ever been on any Muni line. However, the agency had placed a team of Muni employees and interns on buses and Metro stations to track the fare-evasion problem, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Ford told the Chronicle that 35,000 observations have been logged, but no word on the exact analysis of this data and how this supposed crackdown will proceed.

One of the hurdles in enforcing fare is that Muni operators can’t actually physically make fare evaders get off the bus, SFWeekly‘s Joe Eskenazi points out. And who wants to stay on the bus while the driver spends time arguing with riders who either won’t get off or pay up?

Here’s a tweet from Jeff from Tuesday, when he was privy to a Muni operator taking the job very, very seriously, evening threatening to call fare inspectors and let everyone off if they didn’t pay or show PoP:

mayhem on 22: wheelchair, back-boarders, overly eager operator. hot town, summer in the city

And a few weeks ago, I was on the 49 when five teenagers got onto the bus and asked the driver, “We are only going four blocks, is that OK?” The driver waved them through, much to my annoyance. If they stayed on for longer than four blocks, was the driver going to take the time to bust them? Doubtful. The kids did get off a couple of blocks later but still, that was poor excuse.

I’m not holding my breath but it’d be interesting to at least see how Muni will deal with the gaggle of backdoor boarders I see every time I’m on the bus.

2 comments

  • Daishin Sunseri

    The best fare evasion would getting rid of Nathaniel Ford. He evades any responsibility for MUNI. Dump him now!

  • RT Murphy

    I was a Muni operator for 5 years in the late 60s and early 70s.
    If someone was broke or in a bind he could ride for nothing.
    But if he walked past the farebox like he owned the place I would call him on it. “You just called everyone on this bus who paid a fare a chump and you called me a punk. Pay up or get the f*uck off this bus.”
    I pistol whipped one guy who refused to pay and then tried to pull a knife.
    I physically threw half a dozen recalcitrants off my bus or streetcar.
    Society will cease to work if you do not reward people for doing the right thing and punish them for doing the wrong thing.
    Period. End of story.

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