Yes, Virginia They're Paying $800k For Bus Pass Kiosks. But Wait, There's More!
By now you may have heard that the MTA will be opening up two "kiosks" to sell Muni passes and the like, one at Geary and Masonic, and another downtown. The Chronicle pretty much repeats the main talking points about how "convenient" this will be, while the SF Weekly points out some of the absurdities of spending over 800,000 dollars to build two little kiosks, and rightfully so. I mean, really?
Much of the reason anything costs a lot when a city department contracts out work is due to a myriad of requirements contractors must follow that have little to do with making sure they can do the job, and more to do with some politicians' agendas that sound good in a sound bite later on. And in this case, some of it was due to the fact that the Feds were providing the money, and there are rules on what said money can and cannot be spent on (generally the Feds do not want to fund a day-to-day expense, instead preferring to pay for capital projects instead, and that's a good thing, trust me).
But lost in all of this is one basic fact - it was not long ago that one could by passes in the large, existing facility at Geary and Masonic. I remember buying them not that many years ago, only to be in for a rude surprise when they closed it (ostensibly for "budget cuts") without much warning.
So the question is this: Why build a shiny kiosk when they could just as easily use the existing office they used to sell said passes out of? And why, oh why, does the MTA insist on tacking on a tacky $3 "fee" for people to walk into the office and talk to a person?
That's just crap, and another example of the nickel and diming Muni will do to us owner/riders, and how they won't find real solutions to make up for the huge gaps in funding. Perhaps it's time to put the MTA Board on the "Naughty" list for Santa this year.