Muni runs a surplus, talks fare hikes (update)
Photo by wallyg
Update (8:23 a.m., Friday): Per SFBay report Jerold (below, in comments): The surplus is $22.2 million this year and $15 million the following year. There is also a recommendation to increase Muni service by five percent this year and five percent next year.
Original post: We linked to an SFGate story in our transit news roundup the other day. The story talks about several different proposals being shopped out concerning SFMTA’s budget for the next couple of years, and something gave us pause: a cash fare hike from $2 to $2.25, and a 300-percent increase in the single-ride cost for F-Market streetcars.
But that’s not all! Missing in SFGate’s report is the fact that SFMTA is actually running a surplus, its first in recent years. ABC 7 has the details:
“The Metropolitan Transportation Agency that runs Muni is facing a surplus and there are many different ways the public could benefit. At the hearing [on Tuesday], the agency was asking the public where some of that extra money should go.”
ABC 7 does not mention the amount of the surplus. Proposals for how to spend the money, however much it is, include:
- Expanding free Muni for youth from 16 to 18
- Expanding free Muni for seinors
- Expanding free Muni for low-income residents
Color of money, blah blah blah, is surely at play here: One pot of money is dedicated to one thing (golden parachutes for the top levels, JUST as an example) and another pot is empty and screwed. The proposed fare increase is being tied to inflation. And SFMTA is justifying the massive hike in the cost of riding the streetcars by saying that many tourists use the line and it can be considered a premium service.
*cough* I and my coworkers work near Pier 39, making us and others like us a class of residents who would be dinged by such a massive increase. Perhaps tourists are also the ones staffing the massive tourist operation in the northeast end of town, by that logic. Who knew?
What are your thoughts on these proposals? Should Muni be using its surplus to keep costs down for all riders? Should they be looking to increase service (one example would be to couple the F-Market fare hike with resumption of the 10-Townsend bus line to serve residents who live and work in the northeast corner of the city)?
Read the rest of the ABC 7 story for more details.
Share your thoughts and ideas here in the comments. And consider trying to attend the next budget hearing, at City Hall on March 4.