Muni: All-Door Boarding Continues to Increase Bus Speeds, Fare Payment

Image: SFMTA

Seven months since Muni changed its policy to allow all-door boarding on all of its vehicles, the agency is reporting continued improvements in service and a drop in fare evasion.

On average, all-door boarding has saved buses up to four seconds of “dwell time” per stop, according to the SFMTA [PDF]. While that amount may sound small, the time savings add up on routes with dozens of stops. The improvement has been most pronounced on local lines, the report says.

Fare evasion, meanwhile, is down by 24 percent, according to the agency. When comparing the seven months of all-door boarding with the same months the previous year, the SFMTA says the fare evasion rate is down from 4.6 percent to 3.5 percent. The SFMTA also added 11 fare inspectors to increase enforcement with the launch of all-door boarding, bringing the total up to 53, since the new policy relies on random fare inspections rather than enforcement by Muni bus operators.

Mario Tanev, who led the all-door boarding advocacy campaign for the SF Transit Riders Union, applauded the SFMTA for implementing the policy change. “SFTRU has been a staunch advocate for all-door boarding and this report shows that when Muni puts its trust in riders, riders will return the favor,” he said. “Dwell times have gone down, and so has fare evasion.”

Tanev also noted, based on anecdotal evidence, that the change may have helped alleviate overcrowding, since riders boarding through the back door are more likely to fill up previously under-utilized space in the back, leaving more room for passengers in the front.

With the SFMTA’s generally poor track record of delivering transit improvements in a timely fashion, Tanev said all-door boarding’s successful, relatively swift implementation should encourage the agency to move more quickly on rolling out other upgrades from the Muni Transit Effectiveness Project.

“Muni needs to expedite pilot projects for improvements that have been proven around the world, such as all-door boarding, transit-only lanes and transit priority, rather than try to find the perfect plan that everyone likes,” he said. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel in San Francisco, we just need to learn to roll it forward faster.”

The SFMTA plans to release a more detailed report on the first six months of all-door boarding, though it’s not clear when.

Muni officials are also slated to present an update on the overall implementation of the TEP at a forum tomorrow at SPUR.

  • Marta

    I have to think that this makes bus drivers’ lives so much easier (and makes them happier on the job) as it must have been impossible to enforce the backdoor loading (and fare evasion) anyway.

  • Willie D

    So wait, not only do drivers, who are supposed to ensure all passengers have paid and have a receipt of payment still getting paid to not fully do their job, but the prices of the rides have gone up $0.25 in the last year, AND they added 11 Fare Inspectors at what? $80,000 per year per inspector, all to bring fare evasion down 0.9%? Sorry, but that’s not enough for me to justify 4 seconds faster boarding, a higher fare, and more people to do what the drivers are supposed to do. In fact, the fare should DROP because there are more people paying the fare, and less evading it.

  • Willie D

    1. The drivers were never happy.
    2. They should be happy with their $109,000 per year salary, thats 4x more than I make in a year, and I dont just sit around on my ass and drive and not check tickets or deal with anything (cause lets be honest, Ive never seen a driver actually do anything when an issue arises). They should be the happiest damn drivers in the world.
    3. They could check tickets by saying the bus isnt moving till everyone reboards or shows fares through the front door, as the policy was for decades. Dont want to do the job, fine, Ill do it.

  • murphstahoe

    Sounds like you should be applying for a job at MUNI, given you are such a hard worker but only make 27,000 per year

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