Yesterday evening the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency adopted a new budget that, if approved by the Board of Supervisors, will penalize commuters who purchase tickets the old fashioned way with good ol' American Washingtons and Roosevelts. The budget, which the Chronicle reports is over $2 billion for the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, stipulates that people who pay their Muni fares in cash (as opposed to with a Clipper card, or, shudder, the Muni phone app) would be hit with a 25-cent penalty.
At the same time, the budget also proposes reducing towing fees for all the car owners among us. And while yes, at some of the highest in the country, the fees associated with getting a car towed in SF should be lowered, that they are being done so in the same budget that makes riding the bus more expensive essentially stands as a "fuck you" to anyone putting their faith in San Francisco's transit-first policy.
It's also worth considering just who exactly pays with cash, as opposed to the aforementioned Muni phone app.
“We have people who don’t have Clipper cards for a number of reasons,” Jessica Lehman, executive director of Senior and Disability Action, told the Chron. “They don’t trust it; they’re afraid of losing it. People in those situations shouldn’t have to pay for it.”
But under the newly proposed budget people in those situations would very much be paying for it — to the tune of $2.50 per bus ticket.
In addition to Lehman's seniors, what about people who have limited internet access and are really broke? Unless you sign up online and enroll in autoload at the same time, adult Clipper cards cost $3. And if you depend on Muni to get to and from work every day, that extra 50 cents a day adds up fast — especially if you're cash-strapped in the first place.
"Public transit, including taxis and vanpools, is an economically and environmentally sound alternative to transportation by individual automobiles," reads San Francisco's transit-first policy. "Within San Francisco, travel by public transit, by bicycle and on foot must be an attractive alternative to travel by private automobile."
As the Board of Supervisors considers whether or not to pass the SFMTA proposed budget as is, it would serve us all if they took a moment to remind themselves of what forms of transit they're supposed to be promoting. However, as that is unlikely to happen, you should probably just download the Muni app — the loads of 1-star reviews probably means that it works just fine.
Previously: Day Around The Bay: Your Muni Ticket Could Be Getting More Expensive