As noted yesterday, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency's Board was presented with a proposal to increase cash Muni fares. But that's not the only way they're looking at making dough, as SF's on-again-off-again Sunday parking meter enforcement was placed back on the table.
San Francisco's Sunday parking story is a messy one: Back in 2013, the SFMTA started enforcing parking meters on Sundays. By 2014 opposition to this became a platform issue for Mayor Ed Lee, who announced during that year's State of the City address that Muni was no longer underfunded and didn't need the Sunday money.
And how much money was it? $3,143,000 in revenue in 2013's fiscal year, and $1,869,000 in the first four months of fiscal year 2014, we reported at the time. Money that would certainly have come in handy if we'd kept collecting it, since contrary to the mayor's 2014 claims, the SFMTA says they're facing a $13.5 million shortfall for financial year 2017 and a $14.3 million shortfall in 2018 (you can see the MTA's current budget presentation here).
But as of July 1, 2014, it was Sunday enforcement game over, as the pressure Lee reportedly placed on SFMTA chief Ed Reiskin and the Board became intense enough to make the transit overlords reverse their position.
But now, it appears, the MTA's Board might want the mayor's least favorite way to make money to return! As the Ex reports, it came up when SFMTA management presented their Board with their proposed ways to gin up more dough:
One money-making idea was to raise bus fees on seniors and those with disabilities, which would boost revenue by $1.5 million. Reiskin said it’s important to note that Muni is now free for low- and moderate-income seniors.
“Now, those low- and moderate-income [seniors] pay nothing,” he said, “It’s reasonable to consider asking the rest to pay a less-discounted rate.”
SFMTA staff also proposed charging more for use of “express” lines, like the 38BX or 30X, which ferry workers downtown with fewer bus stops. Charging $1 more for express lines could garner $5 million annually for the agency.
Another idea that raised eyebrows on the board was to increase cash fares by 25 cents, instead encouraging Muni riders to use Clipper cards. The more people use Clipper cards, as opposed to cash, the faster the buses go, the agency said.
Board director Cheryl Brinkman and member Joel Ramos weren't too psyched about any of these proposals, according to the Ex, especially since the revenue generation ideas seemed to hit transit riders, not drivers.
“People taking transit are doing the right thing, and it feels like it’s not right to punish them by raising fares on them and not raising fares on people that are driving cars,” Ramos said at yesterday's meeting.
Instead, Ramos and Brinkman asked, why not bring back Sunday parking meter enforcement? As the Ex notes, "The proposal was politically opposed by Mayor Ed Lee, who appoints the SFMTA board directors"...in other words, anyone who opposes the mayor's will in this area might face his wrath and/or lose their Board seat. "However," the Ex writes, "the directors said meters could be targeted in specific zones as a compromise."
Is that a compromise that the mayor might accept? Guess we'll find out some time before the Board makes its final vote on their budget priorities, currently scheduled for April of this year.