With only one month of data gathered on the effects Muni's earth-shattering back-door boarding policy, the transit agency has already found another promising, but possibly meaningless, statistic to tout: the number of fare cheats. Compared to last July, when customers were forced to board through the front door on Muni buses, SFMTA's fare revenue has gone up 19%. Most of that is probably due to the price bump on monthly Fast Passes and people finally getting on board with Clipper Cards, actually so nobody can really say there are fewer freeloaders, but we can't really say there are more of them either.
Either way, SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose is looking at the early data with all the optimism of a NextBus prediction: “It’s too early to say for sure," Rose told the Examiner, "but based on a one-month comparison, all-door boarding does not appear to have a negative impact on revenue."
On the other hand, the Transit Riders Union, who lobbied hard for the basic human right to board the bus through any door you please as long as you've paid your fare share, are considering this reason enough to continue to have faith in humanity. As spokesman Ben Kaufman explained, "the riders understand that this is an honor-system situation that will contribute to the betterment of Muni That trust gives people more incentive to pay their fares.” Now if only we had that honor system for bicycles.
Previously: Good Work Figuring Out Back Door Boarding, Everybody
Muni Updates: Back Door Boarding Going Really Smoothly, Everyone Enjoys It
Muni Etiquette Update: How To Use Back Door Boarding For Everyone's Enjoyment