Muni’s Wage Gap: Pricing Transportation for those Who Need it Most

Muni is considering charging passengers based on income instead of just age.

Existing Muni monthly passes

Type Cost Discount Sales
Muni only adult $64 N/A 55,514
Muni adult with BART $74 -15.63% 28,356
Lifeline pass $32 50% 19,535
Senior pass $22 66% 16,577
Youth pass $22 66% 6,430
Disabled pass $22 66% 7,444

Currently, Muni Passes are priced as seen above, with youth and seniors receiving 66% discounts. However, after struggling with severe deficits for years many people agree that it is time for Muni and Bay Area public transit in general to change. Amidst this cry for reform, SFTMA has considered providing free Muni service for the city’s low-income youth. This ong0ing debate has also opened the door to discussion of a new income-based fare system. With the Clipper Card System in place, the infrastructure already exists to implement this type of tiered pricing system and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is conducting a major study to see if this it is feasible. One major problem is the independent pricing systems of the MTC’s 26 transit agencies. All of these agencies would have to work together and agree on a single fare system.

“If our goal is to make transit accessible, especially for people of low income, it shouldn’t be based solely on age, either young or old,” Cheryl Brinkman, a member of the SFMTA board of directors commented. And she is right. It isn’t fair for a young service worker making minimum wage to pay the same for a Muni Pass as a 45 year old making over $100,000 a year. However, the logistics of this system need to be addressed. Is it feasible? What may be the affect on ridership? Who does it really benefit? The findings of the MTA study will be important in determining if such a system would be the right way to address the Bay Area’s transportation woes.


Woonerven- Walk SF’s Annual Member Party

Walk SF has been working for a more walkable, liveable and safer city all year and now its time to celebrate a job well done and to rally for the volunteers for next year!

Join Walk SF at their  annual member party next Thursday, December 6th. Be sure to renew your membership or become a first-time member to gain admission to the party for you and a guest. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to hangout with people dedicated to making San Francisco a better city. In addition to the great company and conversation, be sure to stop by for the food, drinks and live music. Come celebrate another successful year with Walk SF!

We’ll see you there!





SFMTA Revamps its Traffic Calming Program

After putting its Traffic Calming Program on hold for a year, SFMTA has announced that its new, revamped program should be up and running by Spring 2013. The Traffic Calming Program is part of the city’s ‘Livable Streets effort’. The SFMTA began the program over 10 years ago to address citizens’ requests for the implementation of traffic-safety measures in their neighborhoods.

The original program, while admirable, was seriously flawed. First, a resident would have to submit a request for a traffic calming measure for their neighborhood. Once the request was reviewed and accepted it was placed on a waiting list. Once on this waiting list, the project was ranked based on the number of accidents in the area, the severity of the speeding problem and a number of other factors. Once a project was ranked it would have to work its way to the top of the list, competing with newer, higher ranked programs along the way. Once the project reached the top of the list, a feat that could take more than three years, the two year long planning and implementation process would begin. Needless to say, the backlog was absurd and the entire system needed to be overhauled. The SFMTA itself described the system as a dam.

How the SFMTA ‘Traffic Calming Project’ Functioned in the Past

The new plan will nix the waiting list. Instead, “planners [will] select a yearly round of projects based on the severity of speeding and crashes. If an application doesn’t rank as a top priority, but does meet the minimum threshold for consideration, it would be placed on hold for two years. If the application still doesn’t reach priority ranking within two years, the SFMTA [will] drop the application.” The new system eliminates the potential for projects in never-ending limbo. It streamlines the process, by combining the approval process and the waiting list. Instead of being approved, being ranked, being put on a waiting list and then working up to the top of the list, only to go through a long planning process, the new program will assess the projects as they are submitted, look at all of the proposals at once and pick 25 locations to work on over the next year. Once the locations are selected the town halls and community meetings will begin. Within 11 months the project will be completed.

New Traffic Calming Project Process

Instead of spending years considering multiple solutions to relatively simply speeding problems, the new process will consider simple, effective and relatively cheap solutions like the Chicane and Speed Hump.

Traffic Calming Measures

Although the system is bound to have disadvantages, everyone agrees that the program needed to be redesigned. Now we will have to wait and see how it all goes….