Just when you thought it was safe to get back on the bus...it's time for another Muni rate hike.
Effective Sunday, July 1, the cost of a monthly Muni passes will increase by $2. The Muni-only M pass will rise from $62 to $64 and the Muni-plus-BART A pass will now cost $74. Discount and lifeline passes will also increase by $1.
Single ride Muni tickets will still cost $2.
This fare increase is part of a program instituted by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Board of Directors in 2010 to slightly raise rates each year to keep up with inflation.
While the cost of Muni passes have skyrocketed in recent years, they're still relatively cheap when compared to ticket prices in other parts of the country. The San Francisco Examiner reports:
Next year, that Muni pass is expected to cost $76, marking nearly a 70 percent increase since 2009. At its current $72 rate, the pass costs less than all but one of 10 U.S. cities with comparable transit service. And without BART access, it’s $62--a deal only bested by Boston’s $59 rate.
New York City’s monthly pass costs $104, Chicago’s is $86 and in Philadelphia it ranges from $83 to $191.
Muni is currently facing a $29 million budget deficit this year alone--largely due to high operator salaries and generous employee benefits as well as an increase in the amount of overtime hours.
The agency is instituting a number of cost-cutting and revenue-generating measures in addition to the aforementioned rate hike it hopes will help close its ever-present budget gap including increasing parking parking meter enforcement, hiring more drivers to cut down on the need for overtime and laying off several top staffers.
The consequences of this budget shortfall are made even more dire when considered in light of a recent SF Weekly report showing that the agency has been systematically neglecting maintenance on its fleet of vehicles for years.
In addition to its fare increase, July 1 is a big day for Muni for another reason. It's when the agency institutes the the first all-door boarding policy on any bus system in the country.
"All-door boarding is expected to reduce travel times, increase reliability and potentially provide more space for customers throughout the vehicle, making the ride more comfortable," said Muni spokesman Paul Rose in a statement. "Reducing times spent at individual transit stops, even if only by a small amount, can reduce the over-all time savings for an entire route, helping Muni stay on schedule and giving customers a faster trip."
Muni isn't the only local transit agency upping the cost of a ticket on Sunday. BART is also instituting a similar inflation-based 1.4 percent rate hike. BART officials estimate that will come out to about an extra five cents per ride.