Commute to campus comes at a higher cost for students after Muni and parking price increases

By Daniel Rivera : goldengatexpress – excerpt

The commute to SF State became more expensive today, with the price for a single ride on Muni increasing to $2.25. The surge in cost follows the introduction of a $1 increase on daily parking passes on campus July 1.

“I don’t like it,” said SF State student Coel James, who rides public transportation three times a week. “If I’m paying more, there should be more buses.”

San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority (SFMTA) boosted the price of monthly passes, including the Adult “A” Fast Pass, from $76 to $80, and the “M” Fast Pass, from $66 to $68, to match the single ride increase. The fare for a Lifeline monthly pass, a discounted pass for limited-income residents, rose from $33 to $34 as well…

Along with the Muni fee hikes came a rise in the SF State daily parking permit fee from $6 to $7, which took effect over summer and was the first increase of its kind in two years… (more)

Fee increases, free Sunday parking take effect this week

sfexaminer – excerpt

A number of fee increases — the first in a series of changes approved in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s budget — take effect today, followed by the controversial elimination of Sunday parking meter enforcement at the end of this week.

Transit agency board members on April 15 passed a $943.2 million budget for fiscal year 2014-15 and a $962.6 million budget for fiscal year 2015-16. Slight increases for parking permits and other miscellaneous fees are scheduled to go into effect today.

Among those is a $1 increase for parking permits for resident, business, commercial, school, fire station, foreign consulate, and medical and childcare provider vehicles. They are set to cost $55 for six months or less and $110 for a year… (more)

A Twitter Data Scientist Hacks San Francisco’s Subway Fares

By Sydney Brownstone : fastcoexist – excerpt

Why pay the full price to your destination on BART, when swapping tickets with a stranger mid-ride would save you both money? Perhaps because it sort of violates the social contract?
When New Yorkers move to the Bay Area, they’re often accused of personality crimes. Being haughty, cagey, and ragey-for-no-reason are just a few. I know this because I was one of them, and when I lived in Berkeley, there was one experience that drew out all of the stereotypes I had in me: Riding on Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART.
Twitter data scientist Asif Haque has had his BART frustrations, too. Thus, he decided to take a data-driven approach to see if its fares were “fair” or not. In the process, he also devised a system to help riders artificially lower the cost of riding on public transportation by switching cards with fellow passengers in mid-ride.
For those unfamiliar, BART’s swiping and pricing system works like this: A passenger puts money on a paper ticket or plastic Clipper card, swipes through a turnstile at the origin stop, then swipes through another turnstile at the destination. How much you’re charged depends on where you eventually exit, and not necessarily how many stops you travel. (It’s a mileage-based formula, plus certain taxes here and there.) Unlike New York City’s subway system, BART does not charge a flat rate ($2.50) no matter where, or how far, you’re going. It also doesn’t offer weekly or monthly discounts for people who rely on it to get to work.
There’s a lot of math involved, but Haque, a game theorist and computer scientist by training, figured out that some people who switch their tickets or Clipper cards with each other mid-route could cheat BART’s fare calculator. In fact, a public ride-sharing scheme could work for some 13% of BART route pairs. For example, one rider traveling from Millbrae, in south San Francisco, to Embarcadero, in the heart of the city, pays $4.50 for the trip. Someone coming from the opposite same direction, Glen Park, and traveling to Berkeley, pays $4.20. If they switch passes mid-route, Traveler A ends up paying $5.10 (Millbrae to Berkeley) and Traveler B pays $1.20 (Glen Park to Embarcadero), together saving $1.70…

That’s one theoretical conclusion. The other outcome is deeply troubling. In 2013, after fares and parking fees, a little more than 38% of BART’s budget was funded by taxes. If the fare slice of the revenue pie decreases, taxes might end up making up the difference. That’s not decreasing the price of a ride, but simply shifting the cost onto the rest of the tax-paying public. To suggest that private companies jump in and make a profit off of potentially starving a public transportation system is a nightmare scenario–one that could create a massive gulf between functional private systems and crumbling public ones.
But Haque’s paper doesn’t really look at worst case scenarios. Instead, it’s purely focused on mathematical price efficiency. He says that he could apply this same analysis to any city’s public transportation, where efficiency is measured not by how expensive a ride is, or how profitable the transit authority might be, but whether pricing is set up in a way that makes it preferable to cheat. “For systems in which nothing is gained or lost by switching, those are efficient,” he says, citing Caltrain as one such example.
Haque suggests that if this inefficiency is brought to the attention of transit authorities, the less opportunity there would be to exploit it. He tweeted his research at BART to see how the transportation system might respond to the notion of changing its fare structure, but has yet to receive a response.
In the meantime, the likelihood of having private companies scale up Haque’s idea is nearly impossible. Crowds relying on paper and plastic ticket swapping is surely more physical trouble than it’s worth… (more)

This brings up the subject of how much all public transit truly costs relative to the fares charged for the tickets. The taxpaying public pays over half the Muni charges on the fares that pay. They pay 100% for all the free rides the city authorizes.

We take no sides on this issue, but, before you vote to approve more Muni bonds and approve initiatives to charge higher fines, fees, and taxes to support Muni services, find out where the money is spent now. Find out what percent of the MTA budget covers the actual operations and maintenance costs, and where the bulk of the funds go.

Ask the SFMTA, Mayor and supervisors how much SFMTA has spent on TEP plans to reorganize bus routes and cut Muni service. When you attend one of the many TEP meetings ask the MTA staff why the fifty new buses they just purchased can’t be used to increase service? Be sure to comment on the TEP in your neighborhood.

SFMTA discusses what to do with Muni surplus

: abclocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The agency that runs Muni has a surplus for the first time in recent memory. So, why are fare hikes being proposed? That’s what lots of people who ride Muni buses and trains want to know, as they’re looking at the possibility of one ride actually tripling in price.

On Tuesday at San Francisco City Hall the public had its first chance to weigh in on this. Not that many showed up to the meeting, given that they are discussing a possible fare hike. The public has one more chance since there is a second hearing at City Hall on March 4.

The Metropolitan Transportation Agency that runs Muni is facing a surplus and there are many different ways the public could benefit. At the hearing, the agency was asking the public where some of that extra money should go… (more)

Maybe they could start by giving themselves higher salaries? Oh, that’s right, they already did that. How about paying down the debt? Or just hold off on raising fares and fees. Not enough money to do that either? Just how much of a surplus are we talking about?

Wheel, rail or sail, transit prices are going up

By: Will Reisman : SF Examiner Staff Writer – excerpt

Fares start increasing this weekend on several Bay Area transit agencies — and the move is becoming a rite of summer for riders.

Muni, BART, Caltrain and Golden Gate Transit will all implement fare hikes beginning Sunday. They are modest, but the cumulative effect of years of increases has driven the cost of transit up significantly…

Permits, tickets to be more costly

Transit passengers will not be alone in paying more for travel come Sunday.

Residential parking permits in The City are set to increase from $100 to $104, and parking citations will increase by $7 to $8, under plans approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency…

What to expect Riders on Muni, BART, Caltrain and Golden Gate Transit will see fare increases starting Sunday.

Muni

  • Fast Passes with BART service will increase from $72 to $74
  • Muni-only Fast Passes will increase from $62 to $64
  • Senior, youth and disabled monthly passes will increase from $21 to $22
  • Low-income monthly passes will increase from $31 to $32

BART

  • Fares will increase by 1.4 percent

Caltrain

  • One-way cash fares will increase by 25 cents and round trips by 50 cents
  • Golden Gate Transit
  • One-way cash fares for bus travel will increase by 25 cents
  • One-way cash fares for ferry travel will increase by 25 cents from Larkspur to San Francisco and 50 cents from Sausalito to San Francisco
  • Sources: SFMTA, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit

Sources: SFMTA, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

SFMTA seeks more parking meter revenue to balance its budget

By Steven T. Jones, sfbg.com

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency staff and Director Ed Reiskin today unveiled a two-year budget proposal that avoids Muni fare increases or service cuts and directs more money to address the transit system’s deferred maintenance needs, but it relies on substantially increasing parking meter revenues in ways that have been tough sells before.

(more)

Has the SFMTA ever balanced a budget? If they are so broke why are they spending money on PR trying to convince us they know what they are doing? They obviously don’t, which is why the Mayor and the Board should deny them any more money until they figure out how to manage what they have. Some of the comments on this article are evidence of just how irate the citizens of San Francisco are.