Muni passengers have undoubtedly noticed the increased security while riding trains and exiting stations. In the past, an unknown number of people have taken advantage of the system – sneaking onto crowded buses, hopping in through the back doors or even simply using expired transfers. But in the recent months, this evasion is beginning to change due to the heightened presence of Muni law enforcement.
When riding on buses, people now commonly encounter Muni law enforcement. A typical scenario is this: While riding on a line such as the N-Judah or J-Church, passengers will see that their car has been randomly selected for an inspection. The officers go through the car and check that all the passengers have either a transfer or monthly pass. Those who are unable to provide proof of payment are cited.
Many times when the officers board a particular car, they successfully find someone who cannot present a receipt. This frequency may seem surprising, but it should be soon decreasing as Muni riders become aware of the penalties of non-payment.
Muni law enforcement is nothing new. What has changed is simply the prevalence. Now Muni riders encounter law enforcement not just on the major lines such as the K, L, M, N and T, but also on the typically less-crowded aboveground lines. This occurrence has certainly made many Muni riders more vigilant about making sure to pay.
In addition to law enforcement’s presence on the trains themselves, Muni has also taken other more extensive precautions to avoid payment evasion. Muni passengers will now often encounter law enforcement when they exit a Muni station. This positioning of officers allows for a more expansive search than spot-checking particular trains.
Of course, there is still much to be done to combat fare evasion. Bus drivers must be more vigilant about passengers undercutting the fares and using expired transfers. Muni law enforcement can only do so much. Drivers and passengers must work together to ensure the honesty of Muni riders.
Through these tactics Muni will hopefully be able to maximize honest payment, and who knows what positive impacts that could potential have. In the past few years, the cost of riding Muni has increased. Perhaps because Muni is stricter about fare evasion, they will maximize profits and be able to lower the fares or provide more “spare the air” days. These outcomes are, of course, simply speculative, but we certainly are supporting our city by paying Muni fares honestly.
“San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency,” http://www.sfmta.com/cms/home/sfmta.php