Declaring War on Muni's Proposed Fare Increases
So I was reading the news that Muni plans on jacking up the cost of monthly Fast Passes once again. Ever since Nathaniel Ford took over the MTA, jacking up fares has been a constant. Even though this latest increase appears small, when you consider how cheap a Fast Pass was just a few years ago, and add in the fact that there have been significant, permanent cuts to service, and the fact that reliability is a joke, and you realize that the San Francisco Mantra of "Pay More, Get Less" (at least for us citizens, not billionaires) is alive and well.
I think it's time Muni's Owner/Riders drew the line, and said "Hell NO" to this latest increase. As in the past, if Muni simply did a better job of fare collection, and collected what it was owed, this fare increase, like the last one, would not have been necessary. And no, I don't suggest that we do this via more fare inspectors per se, instead I'd like to see the MTA board and its very well paid CEO get locked into a room and not let out until they come up with a complete overhaul of how Muni is funded, permanently, and get us out of this death spiral of cuts and fare increases.
We pay a lot of people very well, and we no longer have Prince Newsom standing in the way. Since apparently this concept is difficult for the massive MTA to understand I'll break it down for them:
1. You paid millions for the Transit Effecitiveness Project, which tells you what system you need to run properly. Use it. Figure out how much it would cost to pay for it, no cuts ,no buts, no nonsense. There. Now you have your budget. (Don't forget to include maintenance - broken buses and trains serve no one.)
2. Now find a way to pay for it. First, squeeze every penny of efficiency you can, and PROVE IT to the public. No more "pay me not to work days" for operators. No more "pay me not to work days" for the CEO. No more waste. And document, document, document.
3. Relying on parking tickets and fare evasion fines is a stupid way to make up for hundreds of millions of dollars the state illegally looted over the past several years (a co-production of our ex governor and his Democrat allies, LOL). After you've done 1 and 2, and proven to a public weary of bullsh!t from City Hall that you are not going to spend money on silly stuff, find a permanent, stable LOCAL way for us to pay for it. If that takes lobbying, some hard work and late nights, and mobilizing resources to get things done, THEN DO IT. I'll leave it to the well paid folks to determine this one, but it has to happen. And you're going to have get the approval of 2/3rds of SF. Yes, that's difficult, but it has to happen.
4. This will never happen, but the bazillion dollar Subway to Nowhere needs to go. I know the money can't be used for anything else, but what is the point of building this drag on the system, when the money could be spent better, elsewhere? Again, killing it won't happen, but don't be surprised if a Republican Congress decides to do to it what others did the Alaska's Bridge to Nowhere. After all, they just killed all that money to keep the Presidio self sufficient as a "FU" to former Speaker Pelosi.
These just the thoughts that come to mind after writing about this nonsense for almost six years - and most of it should sound familiar, as much of it has appeared here or in the SF Weekly before. The point is this - at this point, we need something simple people can rally around to call attention to this current problem, and the projected future problems in an election year. So I suggest to those that consider themselves "pro-Muni" and "pro-Transit" to get behind a "no fare increase/no cuts" campaign NOW, and force some honesty in the discussions about Muni, past and present.
If people in other countries can brave getting shot at to bring freedom to their countries, surely comfortable San Francsicans can let the MTA, Mayor Lee, and the Board of Supervisors know that the leadershp vacuum on the MTA Board and in the CEO's office is no longer acceptable, and it's time to be proactive to make this city have a transit system that would make as many people as possible WANT to use it, instead of driving a car all the time.
PS: Some have noted some new ads on the site. As always, said ads help pay for the costs of running the blogs. Anyone is free to advertise (well not jerks, but you know what I mean), and the rates are reasonable, either by contacting me directly, or via various ad networks.