Muni Fare Inspectors Are Back, And In Different Uniforms
One of the sweet upsides to our six-and-a-half-month shelter-in-place has been that Muni has sidelined its fare inspectors. But people, the free rides are coming to an end. The SFMTA announced in a blog post that Muni Transit Fare Inspectors are returning to duty, though with new and somewhat less cop-like uniforms.
In a blog post entitled “Fare Inspection Reimagined,” which sounds like the name of a TEDx Talk, the SFMTA says that fare inspectors have already returned to duty, but they haven’t actually been boarding buses to issue citations. Instead they’ve apparently been acting as “ambassadors,” which in Muni’s words means “providing Muni customers with service information, fare programs, kiosk location, physical distancing assistance and mask distribution when needed at stops and stations throughout the system.”
Apparently in late October, they’ll start boarding buses again in their slick new uniforms that somehow San Francisco could afford despite a $1.4 billion budget deficit. But according to SFMTA, they won’t be issuing citations. Yet.
Muni fare operators will be back on buses as early as October with a “reimagined” approach to fare enforcement that focuses on compliance first rather than enforcement. https://t.co/3gmGUTNCGSBest Newsletter Ever!
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— SF Examiner (@sfexaminer) September 30, 2020
The SF Examiner has the news that they won’t start issuing citations until December 1. The Examiner also adds that there’s a new policy that “customers can get their first violation waived if they show they’ve enrolled in a free Muni program within 30 days of receiving the citation.”
Certainly we want to see Muni survive, and they do need that fare money. District 5 supervisor Dean Preston has proposed free Muni, but that would require an overhaul of SFMTA’s budget and policies that is not going to happen this year. You also have the issue that more fare inspectors on the buses will inevitably lead to less social distancing, because how can they check your fare from six feet away? Muni has a few months to figure all of this out, but if you’re a fare hopper, you have only two more months to figure out how you’re going to pay Muni fare again.