Some Good News From Muni (Sort Of), Some Better News from the SFPD (Really) and Why Both Make Politicians Sad!
While getting caught up on news related to Our Muni, I caught two short stories that warrant a bit of discussion. Both are interesting, to say the least, and both are likely leaving some Supervisors in tears.
The first is a report that claims that fare evasion has taken a hit since last year, as Muni has stepped up fare enforcement. Now, this is a bit tricky in that, as you may recall from a discussion on this issue in 2009, Muni hadn't been keeping the kind of detailed records on fare enforcement vs. costs, leading to that misleading "bounty hunter" meme we still keep having to listen to.
That said, if more people are bothering to pay the fares they should be, instead of stealing, that's better for everyone because it means Muni is getting more of the money that it's actually owed. Now is not the time for the clucking of tongues - it's time to build on the success and expand it to more lines to make people take responsibility for themselves.
The fact that it's doing as well as it has, despite political opposition from so-called "Progressive" Supervisors like David Campos, who successfully stalled the fare enforcement plan to make people "feel better" says a lot. So-Called "Progressives" love to meddle with the SFMTA and Muni, but they never accomplish much, aside from proposals to cut the agency's funding even more than it already is. Doesn't it make more sense to have people simply pay their stupid fares so we can avoid fare increases in the future? Bueller? BUELLER?
Anyway, onwwards to some more news, this time from the San Francisco Police Department. In a report issued on Jan. 23rd, the SFPD noted the closure rate of cases related to Muni crimes (assaults, thefts, etc). and it looks like the record is pretty good. There's always room for improvement when it comes to combating violent crimes on Muni, but again, this is better than other agencies. It is interesting to note, once again, that the areas that had the most crime are represented by Supervisors who've opposed upgrades in law enforcement on Muni. To me, that is insane.
I'd love for someone to tell me how it's a San Francisco Value to allow punk kids to trash our buses and trains, or to assault people on Muni Metro platforms, and be allowed to get away with it. I simply do not understand why people on the T-line should be victims of crime (Remember all those assaults of elderly Asian Americans last year?) just because some politicians think that's acceptable behavior. It's not, and it costs all of us money, and when that happens it is those least able to afford fare and Fast Pass increases who take a bigger hit. How that's "fair" is lost on me.
However, one thing to also keep in mind is that if you must use your smartphone or MP3 player on a bus or train, you really need to be careful about it. After all, that new iPhone or Droid is worth several hundred dollars, and if you're buried in a tough Angry Birds level it's easy to not notice someone ready to take it away from you. It's best to pay attention to your surroundings, especially late at night when you might be one of a few people on a streetcar or bus. Be safe, and always, if you see something going on that shouldn't, call 911 and report it.