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Muni’s 25 cent fare increase rolled out this week, leaving riders on Tuesday fumbling for an extra quarter as they boarded. And while for some the extra quarter was a nuisance, some were mad as hell.

“F*** them. I’m on a low income. I’m stretched at $2 already,” said Keisha Jackson as she waited for her bus at 16th street.

Dawn Horton’s medical condition keeps her reliant on Social Security. The cost of living and, now, the cost of public transportation rise constantly while her checks remain the same, she said.

“You gotta shop around to find things you can afford.” she said. “Now they’ve had to increase the minimum wage but we don’t get an increase in our SSI check.”

Rosalba Rodriguez, a student at City College of San Francisco who grew up in the Mission, said she has been reconsidering her spending on other items now that she has to spend more on her Muni fare.

Milo Southie, a coffee shop employee, takes a different approach: He doesn’t pay for the bus at all, because it would simply be unaffordable for him. Instead he jumps on and takes his chances.

“It’s increasingly impossible to get around the city,” said Southie, citing a two hour commute across the city. “If I had to pay for it every day I couldn’t afford to get to work.”

Nelton Chica, a quiet man waiting at 24th and Mission, said that 25 cents might not seem like a lot but for those who don’t make much money each month, it’s a lot — “un montón,” as he said.

“Twenty-five cents seems like it’s just a little bit, but the service is not that great either,” said Marta Carrizales as she waited for the 22. “It’s expensive for me.”

Carrizales has lived in the Mission for 20 years and has two children attending university. Her husband works for the postal service, she said, and she cleans houses for a living, but money is still tight.

“It’s more than I can afford every day,” said Mikey Buster, adding that transfers for only 90 minutes limit the system’s affordability further. “Muni police get on and it’s scary, if you’re a few minutes behind you could get a $75 ticket.”

Buster says she has been walking more, which, while good for her health, has made keeping a schedule difficult.

Jackie Long, 59, said she is at an age where she has no other way to get around but can’t get the senior discount yet. She called the fare increase “a hardship,” particularly combined with the cost of living. Long provides in-house supportive services to those in need and relies on Muni to get her all over the city to clients.

Several riders who said they could afford the fare increase remained indignant at what it might mean for other riders and at the service rendered for the cost.

Pam Berry gets a senior discount, but worried that the increase disproportionately affects the poor in a city where the cost of living has been rising steadily.

“It’s a squeezing out of people of lower incomes who depend on the city to get them to work,” Berry said.

“Twenty-five cents is 25 cents in our pocket, not in theirs,” said Darren Gonzalez as he waited at the 18th and Mission bus shelter. “I think it’s too much.”

Taiwei Lin, looking up from his magazine at a bus shelter on 24th street, said it doesn’t affect him personally, but he still objects.

“It’s a fairly large increase but you can’t see the improvement in service at all,” Lin said.

“They should start by cleaning the buses,” said Darlene Narvaez, waiting a few steps away from Long. She said that for such a fare increase she would expect to see improvements to the system, including better enforcement to discourage fare dodgers.

“It just makes me sick that people get on without paying and here I am, paying. It’s not even fair to the driver, they have to deal with a lot already,” Narvaez said.

Muni estimates ridership to reach almost 17,000 a day on the 22-Fillmore line, more than 19,000 on the 14-Mission and around 26,000 on the 49-Van Ness/Mission.

Discounted fares for those who qualify will remain unchanged, and several youth passes are available for free through Clipper Card. Standard Muni-only monthly passes went up by $2, to $68 a month. 

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  1. Just more proof the public sector can’t ever do anything right and yet the malcontents rage on about private shuttles and say tech works should take MUNI. What a joke……

    1. Bob, most of the right thinking people who discuss the private buses are concerned that the buses and bus riders are not paying their fair share for using the stops. Kinda like the people who get on the bus and don’t have a pass or a ticket. There is a price to live in a civilized society, and the bus riders, especially the private bus riders need to pay their fair share because of the principles that they are better able to bear the burden. The private tech buses definitely were not paying their fair share for using the bus stops, and the system is now working towards a solution.

      1. Oh please, the concern about the the private mass transit had nothing to do with paying for the stops — it was all about “gentrification”. And what is the “fair share” anyway? It is not like it costs the City much to maintain the bus stops. And the riders of those buses (or their employers) are paying the full cost to operate them — unlike MUNI which is heavily subsidized. So the users of the buses basically pay for both MUNI (which they can’t use because it doesn’t even attempt to serve them) and for the the buses that actually provide a solution. Yet, you still whine about them not paying their fair share. Sorry but it seems like you are just another person looking for a handout.

  2. Nice try troll, especially since those shuttles are helping to make MUNI suck even more by blocking stops and delaying buses–and paying a pittance for the privilege.

    The fact that this fare increase is coming so quickly after the city allowed the tech shuttles to use stops for next to nothing is disgusting. Shame on the Lee Administration and the MTA.

    1. Actually, if you look at all the reasons that MUNI doesn’t function, the use of bus stops by other forms of mass transit is so far down the list that it doesn’t matter.

  3. Why not be transparent and start accounting for each muni bus stop as well. Then we can compare what Muni pays for each stop and what the private buses are paying. The private buses should have to pay the same fare as the muni buses if their going to use those stops. Anything less or more would just be unfair. Now, the only problem is, where do we get this information? Even if they end up paying the same amount, I’m sure folks will still protest, but at least the sane people could move on to better things.

  4. At The Bike Kitchen in Potrero you can get help to build/fix your own bike. Bike Kitchen is free if you volunteer to help and very low cost otherwise. I encourage everyone reading this article to leave MUNI behind.

    There are also free bike lessons for adults (and children) sponsored by The San Francisco Bike Coalition that will teach adults how to safely ride in the City.

  5. Come on, stop complaining about a measly 25 cents increase. Muni is already filled with spoiled brats who claim to be the victim in a society which has coddled them since birth. Muni has about 250 Million boarding a year (just shows how many people use public transportation) The yearly budget is roughly $700 million. They need to just start charging $2.80 each time someone boards Muni. Get rid of the stupid monthly pass and get rid of the transfer ticket. The government needs to stop subsidizing these people. We need EQUALITY for all. Same fair for children, adults and seniors. And yes, I am a muni rider

    1. Ricardo, are you still masturbating to Any Rand?

      Thank you for standing up for the .01%! The spoiled brats on Muni just don’t understand how difficult things are for the unfortunate billionaires who have to rule society!

      1. Hey Two Beers , I can somewhat see where your coming. I just get pissed off in a society that financially and politically baby’s people. These people complain about a 25 cent increase yet spend nearly $2,000 a year on the latest smartphone and service. No issue having a hi end phone buy it’s ridiculous to pay that amount before you fund every retirement account you can plus 529 plans for your children or relatives.

        1. The real outrage with Muni is that the fares only cover about 20%-25% of the cost of a ride. SFMuni has what is probably the highest expenses per journey of any US city.

          What this means is that it costs Muni about $10 per ride taken, so the fares are still woefully inadequate. And the major reasons for these costs are the bloated pay and benefits of the workers and the restrictive working practices demanded by the self-serving unions.

          Muni has been in a death spiral for decades and the more money we throw at it, the worse it gets. Muni probably cannot be fixed. The only real solution is to dismantle it, start over and privatize it either in part or all of it.

          London privatized it’s transit and now is 90% self-funding, requiring only a small 10% subsidy from the city. That should be our aim. The voters do not understand that the real cost they bear is not the $2.25 fare but the $7.75 subsidy for each ride paid for from our taxes, whether the taxpayer rides muni or not.

          1. We are becoming a two class society with a small middle class. We have the rich, we have the poor and the new middle class is the government leaches who call themselves employees. The use my people as little pawns in their game to get more power/benefits. The Latin’s are being coddled and subsidized in order to grow a larger government. The only people who win in real estate in SF are the government employees who benefit from this bureaucracy. The poor get screwed and stay poor because they get coddled from our government and have no incentive to stop being poor. The rich get screwed and pay all the taxes. The government employees are laughing all they way to the bank.

          2. Bus service is best in London proper, which is run by the public Transport for London. Bus service in the suburbs (privately-run) is expensive and spotty.

  6. I am surprised SF would go back to free parking on Sundays? One step backward considering SF anti car pro transit agenda most of the time. I wonder is it caused by the unlikely event that it costs them more than the revenue it drawn. I believe muni should maybe choose other methods than a fare raise for now. I.e No free parking on Sundays, limiting clipper card users to two free transfers, charge a quarter for a paper transfer that allow two transfers for cash payers, and only allowing clipper card holders to board back doors to discourage fare jumping as it’s more obvious those who have tagged or not tagged best have a sensor that beeps and speaks if it detects more people boarding than the card reader being properly tagged, charging a one way fare in one direction good for an hour on touristy and expensive to operate F streetcar without transfers. Though have a rapid bus line or modern street along side as an alternative to it.
    San Francisco can improve if they can bring themselves out of the dark ages.

    1. No. It’s just Ed Lee trying to win some support from car drivers. He’s just a good for nothing mayor who doesn’t want to betray his rich supporters. Not reverting back to free parking on Sundays would’ve been great. The extra money could’ve been used to do something useful, like to pay for more muni bus maintenance, so the bus I ride doesn’t have to struggle to go above 15 mph due to neglected maintenance. And as shown in a study that was done in Seattle when they were eliminating free parking, business actually ended up benefiting from it. Who would’ve thought something that so many people hate would actually be a win-win for everybody?

  7. Seems like more foolish SF city planning. The fact that they eliminate Sunday meters then raise Muni fares seems ridiculous. I’m lucky enough that I can take different ways to get to work. I won’t be taking Muni any longer. For the service, it’s simply not worth $2.25.

    1. Between this 12.5% raise in Muni fares and the 14% decrease in parking fares (by making it free on Sunday), the City is pretty much taking that extra quarter from transit riders and giving it straight to car drivers. Thanks Ed Lee!

  8. Learning From the Past: SFMTA’s Poor Spending Habits

    In 1999, Prop E created the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) with more powers, more General Fund dollars and a 85% on-time performance mandate. Instead, Muni falsified on-time performance data and paid bonuses to its Director.
    In 2003, Prop K extended the transportation sales tax and provided a list of projects. The Central Subway’s listed cost of $647 million escalated to $1.578 billion. The citywide Transit-Preferential Streets Program and Bus Rapid Network were never implemented.
    In 2007, Prop A gave SFMTA more funding authority, revenue-bond-authority and even more General Fund dollars. Instead, work orders sent the new funds to other city departments.
    In 2011, voters approved a Road Repaving Bond of $248 million, with $181 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $429 million. Debt isn’t efficient for maintenance.
    SFMTA’s budget grew by hundreds of millions of dollars to $978 million. Number of employees grew by thousands to 4,921. Salaries have soared. Riders get rate increases and service cuts.

  9. Bring back Sunday meters! Also make people actually ride the bus. I got on the other day – saw about 15 people get on the back and didn’t even hear the Clipper card reader beep once

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