More From Yesterday’s Hearing on Sunday Meters and Free Muni for Youth

Photo: Myleen Hollero / ##http://orangephotography.com##Orange Photography##

The SFMTA Board of Directors yesterday approved a two-year budget that calls for parking meter enforcement on Sundays and free Muni passes for low-income youth. The budget must still be approved by the Board of Supervisors before it goes into effect on July 1.

As Streetsblog reported yesterday, the SFMTA Board approved a free youth pass program for low-income students but didn’t extend it to all students. With agency staff saying that free Muni for everyone under 17 would trigger maintenance cuts, board members didn’t think that expanding the free rides for student was worth the trade-off. However, advocates from POWER, the organization leading the free Muni for youth campaign, argued that the board was presented with a false choice.

“Making bus maintenance a trade-off with free Muni for all youth is a false, random and last-minute attempt to limit the board’s choice to free Muni for low-income youth,” said a statement released by POWER the day before the meeting. The organization contended that the SFMTA overlooked opportunities to use available regional funds dedicated to programs for low-income riders and improving air quality. Free Muni for all youth, they argued, would get more middle- and upper-income students to take Muni instead of being driven by their parents.

SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin “respectfully disagreed” with POWER’s assertion, arguing that finding additional funds for an all-youth program would come with “real trade-offs.” The $6.6 million in proposed cuts would have come from $3.8 million in maintenance, $2.1 million in state funds for “transit projects in low-income neighborhoods,” and $700,000 to help fund Department of Public Works projects that would include bike and pedestrian improvements. Those funds were “the lowest priority” available, he said.

The $9.6 million for the low-income-only program, which is projected to be open to half of San Francisco students (based on SFUSD’s free and reduced lunch program), will not come out of maintenance funds, said Reiskin, but mostly from $5 million in outside grants that the SFMTA would not have otherwise received. The remaining $4.3 million will come from “general operating funds,” according to an SFMTA document [PDF].

The board passed an amendment to assure advocates of its commitment to seek funding for an all-youth program in the next budget cycle. Upon approval of the low-income program, advocates expressed neither cheers nor jeers.

As for Sunday parking meters, all of the roughly two dozen opponents repeated claims that having to feed meters during church services would repel people from worship. Pastor Amos Brown of Third Baptist Church, who is no stranger to using incendiary rhetoric on the matter, said charging for parking on Sundays was sexist since, he claimed, most churchgoers are women.

Board member Joél Ramos rebuffed opponents’ accusations by appealing to the very religious teachings they claimed to defend. “I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but never the devil,” said Ramos. “It’s shocking to have heard that coming from a community that lives by, ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged.'”

“The reason why I’m here on this board is because of my Christian teachings, particularly my Catholic teachings, saying that we should look out for those that are the least among us,” he said. “People that don’t have a car, or can’t afford a car, are being pushed out of this city because they can’t even take the bus.”

“We are jam-packed to the gills” with car traffic circling for parking, added Ramos. “On Sundays, it’s just as bad as it ever is, and that affects our transit, making it even more expensive to run.”

Reiskin also pointed out that curb parking can be pre-paid prior to the onset of metered hours at noon, that drivers can pay meters by phone, and that time limits would be four hours long.

Also scrutinized was the SFMTA’s $9 million in annual work orders to the SFPD’s motorcycle traffic enforcement unit, which was once again included in the budget despite criticism in recent years that the SFMTA is footing an unjustified bill while making cuts in other areas. Reiskin defended the practice by arguing that ending it would only shove the problem to the city’s shortfall.

“I don’t think that it’s fair for the ridership of Muni to pay for the entirety of that program,” said Supervisor David Campos, who has led the charge for free Muni for youth at City Hall.

“I think it’s appropriate for some of that money to be paid by other people who drive, other people in the city,” he added. “So if you have the opportunity, at a minimum, to reduce that amount by half, that’s four and a half million dollars that you can get back into the system so that you address issues like maintenance, so that you address issues like on-time performance.”

  • Wai Yip Tung

    I’m glad that this free Muni passes thing is finally done. I never see a good justification for it or why it should be a priority. This is simply a distraction and a waste of political capital on other issue that actually matters. POWER can quit advocating for middle class families. Being a middle class parent myself I wouldn’t care less about $20. I want a frequent and reliable MUNI. That matters much much more than mere $20.

  • James Figone

    I listened to some of the meeting yesterday and I am proud of the SFMTA and board action with regard to Sunday parking.  It is difficult to stand up to clergy of all faiths in full religious regalia demanding that free parking be retained for the “good of the community”.  

  • Abe

    Muni should be free (for all kids and for all adults) for the same reason we don’t charge people when they walk down the sidewalk or drive down the street. We, as citizens and residents of San Francisco, pay for the basic infrastructure of our city in the form of taxes. The purpose of fares on transit is to limit ridership. period.

  • Mario Tanev

    Unfortunately a lot of higher-income people make a computation that makes Muni unattractive to them. After all they already own a car, and they fail to account for its total costs. In addition, if they have a lot of children, the car looks even more appealing to them. Finally, because they don’t think they need it, they never obtain a pass or even a Clipper card, and because of that, they never even think of it as an option.

    Free Muni for all kids has the potential to open it up to them as well, and engage them in support for Muni funding. The problem is that the proposal that was presented had terrible tradeoffs. Advocates must find REAL funding that doesn’t jeopardize Muni.

  • Andy Chow

    I believe that POWER would want to have free transit for everyone if they can. I don’t think transit should be free because transit is already well used in San Francisco, and that without riders contributing to the operating costs, Muni service would have even less service.

    How good is it to have free Muni when it comes too infrequently and it is all packed? It is not going to divert the middle and high income folks to Muni. These folks are willing to pay a premium for better transit service, like BART and Caltrain. Yes, commuters would save money by relying on Muni rather than owning a car, but they see it as an improvement over Muni. Again, they gladly pay the price of getting out of Muni dependence.

    A lot of Muni service is packed, the vehicles are slow, the vehicles are uncomfortable and heavily vandalized. Free transit would only make it worse.

    If the advocates can instead focus on increasing transit service and improving the quality, it would make add more bang on the buck on the fares that riders are paying. They can also focus on reducing fares for low income folks on high priced transit like BART and Caltrain, which would help increase access to more jobs for them.

  • These folks are willing to pay a premium for better transit service, like BART and Caltrain.

    Andy – you do know that BART is cheaper than MUNI for rides inside San Francisco – the only city served by MUNI, don’t you?

  • Anonymous

     Is Caltrain really “better transit service”? I like it, and I use it, but it’s not great service: it’s infrequent, and it could be faster. It’s a lot faster than Muni, but it’s also a different breed, being a suburban commuter train vs an urban backbone.

    Also, Bart is pretty packed at rush hour.

    Of course Muni needs better and more reliable funding, but that has more to do with work orders, with disappearing state funding, and other factors. I’d like to see some figures on how much it makes from youth fares and passes. I suspect that if low-income youth get free passes, the revenue from all other youth passes will be pretty close to the cost of administering the program which determines who’s low-income and who’s not, meaning that it wouldn’t cost Muni much to simply give passes to all SFUSD students– which is what it should then do.

  •  Aside from the math, Balakzan, the best way to make MUNI more reliable is to get more people to ride MUNI instead of drive. The best way to get voters to support more funding for MUNI is to get more people to ride MUNI and thus demand better service. The best way to do those things is to get them while they are young. It’s been pretty rough getting my 40 year old wife to start using public transit more. My 3 year old prefers the bus to the car.

  • I am disappointed that bike/ped projects were slashed to make room for this project. Why not funds that go towards fixing potholes?

  • Glad to see that us non-believers will be subsidizing one less thing for the believers. You want to drive to church? Fine, then pay for it. 

    These religious leaders sound pretty “entitled” if you ask me.

  • mikesonn

    @google-c1054b713ae4d63cc3ebaf620c20fb35:disqus Why not the work orders to SFPD? They dip into Muni to make their numbers look better (thanks Gavin!) and we get stuck with less service and broken buses while their nice pensions go unquestioned.

  • Wai Yip Tung

    @Mario:disqus To fill up the tank once cost more than $40. 1 parking ticket set you back $60. Car lease go for a few hundred a month. Each time you pay the insurance for bring the car to a shop it hit you with another few hundred. If people can afford a car, what does $20 mean to them? Anyway you slice it, it is nothing more than a nominal cost. It is wistful thinking to assume a $20 discount will tip their behavior and convert them into bus rider.

    If SFMTA is flush with money, then sure, let’s make everything free. Clearly this is not the case. I hate to see the board of directors wasting time, money and
    their
    political capital because someone insist Muni should be free. We are not addressing our long list of priorities right.

  • peternatural

    I’m a middle-class parent with two kids in public school in SF. My daughter in 3rd grade walks 4 blocks to school with her grandmother. My daughter in high school takes MUNI (as she has since 6th grade).

    If the price of a youth pass increased substantially, would I eventually be tempted to drive her to and from school? The answer is: Not only no — HELL NO!!

    My wife and I have better things to do than chauffeur my daughter around. It’s so much easier to leave for work whenever I want (usually early) and let her take herself to school on her own schedule (and get herself home, or to her job, her art class, etc.).

  •  Wai Yip – you have fallen prey to the idea that our general populace has the capability to assess the finer details of costs, amortizing the risk of uncertain events across time, and other useful cost/benefit analyses.

    They don’t. There are numerous large scale examples to look at. Iraq War for example.

    Someone once did a cost benefit analysis for me of driving vs. Caltrain. We are minimally 42 miles from this person’s home. They rounded down to 40. They rounded up their gas mileage to 20, they really get closer to 18 MPH Highway and that’s only when there is no traffic. So 4 gallons round trip. They multiplied by $3 per gallon when gas was nominally costing $3.25 to get $12 as the cost of driving to work. Insurance is free because they aren’t getting rid of their car. Amortization of maintainance – even things like oil changes – was not included.

    Caltrain costs on the other hand, they simply multiplied the $8.75 one way fare times 2 to get $17.50. They save $5.50 per day by driving. They did not factor in that with an eight ride ticket the price would drop to $15 round trip, and the trip can be paid for with pre-tax dollars which drops the price to closer to $10.

    They also did a time analysis. 42 miles equals 42 minutes driving. Traffic does not exist. Caltrain is 2 hours. In practice it takes me closer to 90 minutes most days. And they said “Someone kills themselves once a week”.

    When you already know what the answer you want, the analysis will always be made to fit the answer.

    My point? All these analytical tools will be used to find an excuse to not take MUNI. Drop a free pass into their lap and the argument starts to fall apart because we’ve removed the biggest piece of friction in the system. And we don’t need to get 100% adoption to make a difference. I ride past 8 schools on the way to Caltrain. At any given time if 10% of the cars blocking the road were gone – the reduction on congestion would be complete.

  • Wai Yip Tung

    Drop a free pass into their lap? That sounds good to me. Let’s mail all youth in
    San Francisco a free pass – for just one month. Private sector do this for
    marketing all the time. To make it free all the time is obviously a totally
    different story and we should always need to understand its cost. Extrapolate
    the number from the article I get 19 million annually cost for all youth. Is it
    a cost effective marketing? How many new riders can you acquire as a result? Can
    you construct a model to demonstrate the program’s impact? It does not have to
    be profitable for Muni. I just want to see a rational analysis on the cost and
    benefit on such program. We shouldn’t be making decision base on gut feeling or
    presumably self-evident statement like “public transport should be free”.

    This “removed the biggest piece of friction in the system”? I don’t for a minute
    belief this is the case. My guess the biggest friction for middle class children
    to not use MUNI is first security and second is it take too much time or it
    requires transfer.

    Money is hardly an issue. $20 is trivial amount of money. Even the $70 adult is
    very reasonable. I think a lot of people are even willing to pay more than the
    $2 fare if Muni provides them faster and more reliable service.

    I’m not trying to say people will analyze the cost like I have put in the
    comment. What I’m trying to show is the money so obviously trivial that nobody
    need to do any analysis to know that. Like what @peternatural says, it does not
    matter at all.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    This is all just incredible.

    The cost of even a Muni youth pass (let alone multiple passes for multiple children) is a substantial burden for low income families — the sorts of people who don’t have time or means to post blog comments.

    The agency income from Muni youth passes with present discounts is so marginal in the larger (CENTRAL SUBWAY!) scheme of things that that might as well be free.

    Get a grip on the orders of magnitude!  We’re giving billions of dollars to limitlessly corrupt consulting and construction scammers while getting our knickers in a knot about the idea that some sullen teen isn’t paying enough for the privilege of being abuse by Muni.

    The incredible bureaucratic overhead of means testing youth passes solely for low income families is such that it makes far more sense to just “age-test” and give them to everybody.  Yeah, so some plutocrat’s kid gets a pass their parents can afford.  So what?  (In fact, so much the better, because they might have some glancing occasional experience of how the other 99% lives, and if they don’t use it what’s the harm of having issued it anyway?)

    Much of American politics seems to be a lunatic obsession with the idea that somewhere, somebody is getting something they don’t deserve.  (Well yes, they are, but it’s not the “welfare queens”.)

    There’s a great social upside to providing basic, if awful (I’d never ride Muni unless I am physically incapable of getting on a bike), service to everybody, and especially to those to whom several tens of dollars a month is a significant percentage of their non-rent non-food budgets.  And yes, those people exist, right under our noses.  There’s a social upside to not stigmatising the poor and not making them jump through hoops to obtain basic social services, especially but not only when bureaucracy is often equated with deportation.  There’s a social upside to attempting to ingrain the use of transit (brain washing!)  There’s little fiscal downside to any of this.  Yeah, I hate being on the Muni at school release hour, but so what?  I also hate being on Muni at legitimate businessman rush hour and I hate being on Muni at 1am.  So suck it down, and stop lying awake at night worrying that somebody’s getting a free ride who shouldn’t.

  • Andy Chow

    The problem why aren’t more people take muni is that muni provides a relatively poor transit experience. A free pass isn’t going to help change that except at the margins, which is why free transit aren’t really cost effective, as demonstrated by free transit on spare the air days several years ago.

    Think of muni as a restaurant. Even though it is all vegetarian and organic, the preparation and atmosphere are terrible. Making it cheap aren’t going to make most of those who hate the restaurant to go there again.

  • which is why free transit aren’t really cost effective, as demonstrated by free transit on spare the air days several years ago.

    False equivalency. Children attend school. Trips that need to be taken. In a bus or in a car. It is known that as a whole it would be better if they take the bus.

    The complaint about spare the air day was that there was excessive joyriding by “whomever”. That’s not the target here. And the issues were more targeted at BART.

  • Abe

    Think of Muni as a RESTAURANT???

    Muni is not a business. It doesn’t compete with other transit agencies for your business and it has never been set up to make a profit. Muni’s primary reason for existing is to move San Franciscans around efficiently. Not to make a profit. Free passes for all youth helps move San Franciscans around more efficiently.

    Muni’s lack of funding can be dealt with somewhere other than the farebox. Get people on Muni, move them on and off the busses quickly and Muni’s service will improve. Charging more fore fares only improves service if the increased revenue goes to things like maintenance, infrastructure, and frontline staff. But that hasn’t been the case for far too long. Money and service are not directly connected.

  • Andy Chow

    Muni, like all transit, is competing with automobiles (single occupancy or carpool), and to a lesser extent, taxis and bicycles. In some ways all of the competing modes can be complementary (park and ride, drop off a transit, etc).

    So what if Muni is running not for profit? It is a service that is not exclusive to the government sector (unlike police, fire department, and military). Muni is more like a public university. Students have a choice between various public universities and private ones.

    Which do you hear more common: glad to get rid of my car because of Muni, or glad to have bought a car because of Muni. I think the second statement is more common. If you think otherwise then I don’t think you “get it” in terms of what Muni needs to get more riders.

    Even with the extra expense with driving, people think it is something worth working extra hard for. It is one of the thing why people want a better pay.

    And with all those things a free Muni isn’t going to change that.

    A lot of Muni routes are packed at peak times. We don’t need more riders who otherwise aren’t willing to pay the fares to add to the overcrowding problem. We need more funding to provide a less crowded service for those who are paying, so that they stay with Muni longer and not be converted to driving. Muni is and will be having many new riders everyday, but at the same time many riders are turning away from Muni because of bad service.

    As for the spare the air day free transit, local transit ridership didn’t go up dramatically.

  • A lot of Muni routes are packed at peak times. We don’t need more riders
    who otherwise aren’t willing to pay the fares to add to the
    overcrowding problem.

    More basic misunderstanding. At peak times passengers are headed from places with schools to places with jobs. The buses have to return in order to get more passengers, heading the opposite direction and going towards schools, not jobs.

  • The comments focus primarily on Muni. The real loss is to the small businesses that are being regulated out of existence. Example in the news today of a restaurant in business in SF for 105 years, forced to close because of new fire regs. Sunday parking affects West Portal Avenue, The Haight, The Castro, Chestnut Street, and The Mission. It’s a constant looking at your watch now. 30 minutes? One longer than usual line at the bank, and the shopping ‘experience’ becomes totally stressed. People will go to the mall. And more restaurants and small family businesses will shut their doors. Does anyone really care? Not! 

  • Abe

    Nobody is arguing that Muni doesn’t need more funding or better service standards. My point is that charging users a fare is counterproductive toward those goals.

    Let’s just pay for Muni the same way we pay for the roads it runs on/under (same agency last time I checked). After all, those roads are maintained by the city at great expense for the good of San Franciscans– same goes for Muni. And as a bonus, a “free” ride will encourage more people to use Muni rather drive (which slows down Muni).

    *and I don’t believe there can be real competition between transit agencies. How many different bus companies and bus stops do you want crowding our streets? There’s a reason the city merged all those private companies into one municipal railway a hundred years ago.

  • peternatural

    Sunday meters are good for businesses and shoppers. As it stands now, you can’t even get a spot. They’re all taken by deadbeat neighbors without two quarters to rub together that park all day when it’s free.

  • Andy Chow

     In this day and age where tax increases need to be voted on. Public spending decisions are becoming individualized. Even if some kind of tax could be raised to completely offset the lost fare revenue with free transit, the likelihood of a successful passage is slim. The same goes of the idea of making public universities free for everyone.

    As for the road maintenance, drivers pay (partially) through gas taxes and registration fees. Transit riders, which use the same roads, contribute very little to road maintenance through fares, even though transit vehicles weigh as much as a large truck where the vehicle registration fees are in a range of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars each year. However transit agencies get capital funds that can be used for some road related projects.

    I don’t think there’s a need for competition, but what don’t have enough is variety. In the restaurant world, a Chinese restaurant isn’t a real competition to an Italian restaurant, but in some minor ways it is. It would be a very boring neighborhood if there’s only one or one type of restaurants. I would like to see more of a variety for transit, where people can get on mass transit to travel within San Francisco better than what Muni is offering now. Vehicle comfort, limited stops, and time certainty (not promising every 10 minutes, but leaving exactly at a certain time) are things that Muni is strongly lacking.

    Free Muni is kind of like free McDonald’s. Some people who use it daily (even if they have to pay) and glad that it is there. Some people would use it occasionally regardless. But for people who want variety and quality, they would pay to eat somewhere else even though they can eat fast food for free. So I don’t buy the theory that free Muni would significantly reduce traffic, and by extension, somehow translate to better service and more public support.

  • Abe

    The price of that variety will be street congestion for everyone. (and Muni is not a restaurant). You can take a cab or drive, ride your bike or walk or take the bus. Fare-less Muni will not change that.

    FTR, gas taxes and registration fees don’t pay for the streets that we’re talking about (the ones Muni runs on/under). Since we’re speculating now I’d be very surprised if more money gets to SFMTA from those taxes and fees than from Muni fares right now.

    But that’s sort of my point: fares are not the way to pay for Muni. The kind of transit agency that operates on a budget funded by fares looks more like a taxi than a bus. And that’s fine– there will always be a place for that kind of transit. But if everyone takes cabs, our streets are only slightly less congested than if everyone drove cars. A transit system like Muni is vital for a city like San Francisco and fares are not the way to pay for it. However hard that will be to accomplish is another matter.

  • My eyes roll when I read some of this….. Having free muni for kids is a great idea – On paper.

    However, a it;s a very binary decesion not based on any Anlysis on what the true effects are. Very simply We (sfmta) needs money and motorist are going to pay for it.

    Read any message board not central to san francisco (i.e. SFGATE) and you can understand that people are not going to come to san francisco to spend the money. San Francisicans who are stupid enough to have a car (that’s me) are going elsewhere to spend their money. I don’t hear business leader supporting this because there’s no problem. How is a meter that you can legally feed going to do anything for turn over and business?

    When things are given away there not apprciated – They tried this in portland and it was an abject failure as it will be here with kids taking rides they don’t need and further slowing muni – which by the way travels at 7 mph average. Muni promised on time performance and they’re no where near that ideal. Throwing More money at Muni is not going to fix it. In 2007 the budget was 700,000,000. the budget ed Ed R. is proposing is $823,000,000 a 123 Million more than just five years ago!! that stagers me. Have things gotten any better?

    $ 9.5 Million is 1.15% of of their budget – I am sure with these increases they could find the additional $$ without furthering the war on drivers.

    In just the last 2 years parking fines and meters have doubled! We now have the most expensive meters in and fines in the U.S. and they just want more. Drivers have paided enough.

    Consider that drivers currently pay 87cents per gallon for taxes, we have an additional registration fee to fund road repairs here in SF($20.00). Bridge tolls, tire taxes etc that have risen very dramaticaly . Not to mention a tightening of every fee associated with SFPark (it’s now $100.00 a day for SF park to store your car if it gets towed. More than 3x the cost of the airport).

    If you want to give free rides to kids fine. However, don’t ask drivers to pay more… we have stepped up and paid more than our share. We’re not all rich..

  • Andy Chow

    You always try to make things look simple. Because schools aren’t located in downtown, those that have crosstown commute often require transfers, slow, and have infrequent service. With the yellow school buses, at least the transfers are eliminated, and the travel time is certain. Free Muni isn’t going to cut it if you have to leave an hour ahead of time so that you won’t face the possibility of getting late to school.

    Even if Muni could improve its peak service, it doesn’t automatically mean that it can improve school service without additional resources. Yes, the buses have to deadhead to neighborhoods to start service, but it is doing so a hour or more before where everyone wants to ride. The suburban agencies like AC Transit and SamTrans have already figured this out.

  • Peapod mom

    The day that drivers have really, truly “paided” enough is the day I can safely bike with my kid to the park on a beautiful, warm day like today and not wonder the whole way if this is the time some entitled jerk driving alone and hunting for free on-street car storage hits us. 

    Bike lanes, increased bike parking, experimental curbside lanes–they don’t matter a lick if this city can’t get its crazy traffic under control so all these reptilian-brained drivers stop killing those of us on wheels and foot.

    Please, continue going elsewhere so we can enjoy our neighborhood amenities in peace without your car exhaust choking us!

  •  We have lost many restaurants and small family businesses in Noe Valley. They have all been replaced by substantially more profitable restaurants and small family businesses. If Sunday meters are going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, you aren’t running a very good business.

  •  Read any message board not central to san francisco (i.e. SFGATE) and
    you can understand that people are not going to come to san francisco to
    spend the money.

    We hear this over and over and over. And stores continue to be shuttered in the burbs and are thriving in SF. Your theory is 180 degrees off from reality.

  • >>We hear this over and over and over. And stores continue to be shuttered in the burbs and are thriving in SF. Your theory is 180 degrees off from reality. “show me some facts that indicate your statement is true and that the parking and fine structure has had and impact on making business more successful”

    You hear it over and over again because it’s true. Business’s here are having a tough tough time. Those that are doing well are doing it despite parking policies not because of them. By definition the SFPark goal is to make parking more expensive. Parking fines and tickets are paid with discreationary income – the more expenisve parking is the less $$ people will spend with business.

    As it gets more expensive and risky-ier the less likely motorists will even chance coming here to spend $$.

    You need only look at how many gas stations have went out of business in this town to understand that people drive far less.

    As people continue to abadon their cars they’re going to look to folks with bikes for revenue – for me, the owner of 3 bikes which get used alot – I think this is long over due.

  • >>The day that drivers have really, truly “paided” enough is the day I can safely bike with my kid to the park on a beautiful, warm day like today and not wonder the whole way if this is the time some entitled jerk driving alone and hunting for free on-street car storage hits us. Bike lanes, increased bike parking, experimental curbside lanes–they don’t matter a lick if this city can’t get its crazy traffic under control so all these reptilian-brained drivers stop killing those of us on wheels and foot.Please, continue going elsewhere so we can enjoy our neighborhood amenities in peace without your car exhaust choking us!

    OH my  – if I was looking for the war on Motorist I have surely found it! For the record, I have 3 bikes and ride them often. I have not filled my car with gas sinse early febuary. I live in SF and have done so for 20 years. I am quite certain that you and your daughter will never feel completely safe riding to the park and you shouldn’t streets are dangerous places and that’s not just becuae of cars, or becuase you live in San Francisco we have the rudiest most entitled cyclist anywhere that I have been. You’d rightfully be scared to ride with your daughter not only in San Francisco but in any town on the planet! I think your name calling and pejorative comments do nothing to further the debate….Though I am more than happy to jump down in gutter if that what you wish?

  • >>We have lost many restaurants and small family businesses in Noe Valley. They have all been replaced by substantially more profitable restaurants and small family businesses. If Sunday meters are going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, you aren’t running a very good business.

    I would be very surprised if your statement is true – I would like to see your facts. Second, if true,  “the susbstainally more successful businesses” you mention are without questions substainaly more expensive.  If you love gentrification, and paying much more for things –  I spose’ this is great – but not all of us do.

    Show me the facts that SFPark as helped susbstainly more successful business start and flourish in NOE Valley.

    If you knew anything about economincs you’d know the aviablility of substitues is a major factor in where people spend their money. As people consider where to spend their money the 70 dollar parking  tickets become a real factor…

    I would love to see your proof to the contrary…

  • mikesonn

    I think you are confused as to what SFPark entails and how that relates to Sunday metering. Please read up before you word vomit again.

  • someone is confused but it’s not anne marie or I… it’s you bucko… read up on your laws of econ. then we can have a debate.

  • Andy Chow

    My point is that Muni is an inferior product (even if you compare it to other transit agencies). I use restaurant example to relate how inferior Muni is. If you don’t get it then you really don’t understand that for many people, as soon as they can afford a car, they would abandon Muni.

    I didn’t say that car registration fees and gas taxes COMPLETELY pay for roads.

    Muni deserves to charge a reasonable fare (that many can afford) to provide a higher quality service. Pricing is a good way to indicate productive usage (like pricing for parking is) and to ensure that transit isn’t being used for non-transportation purposes (like a mobile homeless shelter).

    Public transit always charged a fare since the very beginning. At the old days they were supposed to be profitable. When the public agencies took over it was supposed to be subsidy free. I believe while the fare should stay low, transit needs to be more financially sustainable. That’s include controlling costs, limiting subsidy needed, and create services that can charged higher fares with a lower subsidy.

    Compare that to the public university systems. They were supposedly fully paid for the government offering free or very low cost higher education. Now the fees are adding up to be comparable to some private schools (factoring in the discounts available). We aren’t going to get more education or public transit by demanding more subsidy from the state or voters (just trying to recover from what was eliminated was difficult). If Muni can provide a slightly more auto competitive service, it would set Muni in a more financial sustainable path, even as people pay their fare.

    The variety that is lacking is mini-buses/vans that are common in developing cities. A choice of an expensive cab or a slow bus isn’t really a choice. Some entities are offering shuttles which is a step in the positive direction. But some people in SF still see transportation should only be cabs, Muni, or rail like BART and Caltrain.

  •  MUNI is inferior to other transit systems? That’s a pretty heavy lift. Name 5 systems in the country that run with the same frequency as MUNI. That provide 24/7 service. That serve the entirety of a 7×7 square mile grid leaving a maximum walk of less than a couple hundred yards. All the while competing with cars and bikes and pedestrians at grade.

    Just because we want it to be better does not equate to it being inferior to other systems. For the heavy lift that MUNI is tasked with, the results are pretty damn impressive.

  • You hear it over and over again because it’s true. Business’s here are having a tough tough time.

    BS. It is harder to get a restaurant reservation in SF than it was at the height of the dot com. Retail rents are going through the roof. Landlords only charge more if they can get it, and they can because businesses are making money.

    As it gets more expensive and risky-ier the less likely motorists will even chance coming here to spend $$.

    And clearly “motorists” are the only people with money. BS. Now you’ll re-open the theory that people with cars are by definition richer because they have a car, at which point I will invite you to take a ride on Caltrain and see they high per capita income.

  •  You need only look at how many gas stations have went out of business in this town to understand that people drive far less.

    As people continue to abadon their cars they’re going to look to
    folks with bikes for revenue – for me, the owner of 3 bikes which get
    used alot – I think this is long over due.

    Haven’t you just disproved your own point that businesses need to rely on motorists?

  • >>Haven’t you just disproved your own point that businesses need to rely on motorists?

    No I wouldn’t think so. People are driving less…. Generally, on San Francisican’s will gas up here and then only when necesary. If I travel down to the pennisula I will gas there As I suspect others do.

    I have no Idea where you get the idea that business are doing well here in SF? I rarely go to restuarants that require reservationso I can’t offer any opioion on that. If you find it more difficult to secure a reservation that’s not even anctedotal evendence that things are “better” that’s only your experiance…  

    I think businesses need all the business they can get. I think that in most resturants people take cabs, further, mostly when you eat in resturant its after the meter enforcement not before.

    Give kids free rides, just don’t charge motorist on Sunday – not nearly enough Analysis has been done as to what the impact will be. After doubleing the fines and meters over the last several years people won’t come to the city  for fear of the 85.00 they will be forced to pay for the ticket the just got

  • Andy Chow

    Muni is inferior because it provides poor transit experience. From the frequency point of view it has to be more frequent because of the population density (it is not a fair comparison to areas with lower density). But given the crowd it should be running more often than what it is running today.

    Secondly, I do question the agency’s (management team and employees) ability to deliver quality service. I think that if somehow the agency can be replaced with new management and employees, Muni could provide better service for the same cost. Replacing management team has been done before (changing garbage company on Peninsula, upcoming Caltrain contract operator change, etc). It is just that there’s no way to replace the management culture for Muni (changing the CEO isn’t enough). I would prefer to see a trial run with contracting a part of the Muni service to another agency or company to see whether the service outcome has improved. But it seems that SF doesn’t have enough guts to give that a try and rather buy into the excuse that everything is driver’s fault, whether the fact that they are driving or not paying for parking.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    Name 5 systems in the country that …

    Special Olympics!

    Let’s all give Muni a gold star sticker for Trying Hard.  And just consider the self esteem issues involved.  Don’t bully Muni — it has special needs.

  • Anonymous

     @yahoo-2J2S5LDR7OCRCGP4ZNAVE7N75Q:disqus wrote: “I have no Idea where you get the idea that business are doing well here
    in SF?”

    The article to which you linked

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2012/02/green-rolls-san-francisco-budget-still-red

    indicates that businesses are doing well in SF.

  • Not sure where you come up with this stuff? I am writing because some of us simply don’t have a choice in owning a car… I don’t drive anymore unless it’s to get to an interview or an absolute emergency.

    >>And clearly “motorists” are the only people with money. BS. Now you’ll re-open the theory that people with cars are by definition richer because they have a car, at which point I will invite you to take a ride on Caltrain and see they high per capita income.

    You’re missing my point – I am arguing exactly the oposite. Motorist, who account for some portion of business on Sunday for instance don’t have the additional income to pay tickets on Sunday. Ticket revenue is discretionary income – Money that motorist spend on tickets they can’t spend witth business. At the end of the day, the debate about charing on Sunday – is not about the 1.5mm in additional revenue – it’s about how many more tickets they can give

    You might say that you don’t get tickets if you’re not at fault…. let me tel you where their are PCO’s there will be tickets – try fighting them –  it’s futile 70% by SFMTA’s own admision.

    Consider a few other folks like my friend helen that teach at an alternative school no where near muni….. her car got booted because between student loans for a masters program etc… she couldn’t afford to pay and had to go further into debt to do so.

    How about this one – does she sound rich? Think she might work on Sunday?

    http://newamericamedia.org/2011/09/in-san-francisco-parking-tickets-are-the-new-taxation.php

    For the working poor, the system of heavy fines can quickly become something close to tragedy.Rosalina, a cleaning lady in her 40s who did not want to give her last name, was grief-stricken when she walked out of a posh condominium complex near Embarcadero and Harrison with her cleaning equipment to find a parking ticket on her old Toyota Corolla. She had exceeded the two-hour limit for residential parking. In broken English, she said while wiping away tears: “I make five hour[s] to pay this. I get three [of] these [tickets in] one month. Soon, I [will have] no more car.”

    The only point I am trying to make here is that drivers have paid enough. If you think we;re going back to an era without cars – I belive you;re wrong. I would much rather not have a car but it a necesary evil at this point..

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