Muni Considers Fare Hikes, Service Cuts as Deficit Grows to $129 Million

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The MTA is now considering fare increases and service cuts to deal with a deficit that has grown to $129 million. The shortfall has worsened because of the state budget crisis, the sinking economy and the elimination of the State Transportation Assistance fund.

"The hit we’re taking from the new state budget is the biggest blow to our budget since January," said MTA spokesperson Judson True.

The Board has already approved hiring freezes, furloughs and delays in equipment repair. A cash infusion from reserves made up for $77 million but the remaining $51 million gap requires further measures.

Pages 10 through 13 of this budget presentation (PDF) to be made Tuesday to the MTA Board outline a possible range of options for closing the gap, a menu of items staff thinks is realistic. Options on the table:

  • Increase the $1.50 cash fare for adult single rides to $2.00 
  • Increase the monthly Fast Pass fare to $60.00 (It’s scheduled to go up to $55.00 July 1st)
  • Raise monthly Fast Pass fares for riders who also use BART by $5.00
  • Raise the fare on the historic F-Line by $1.00

The MTA is also considering raising parking fees and the controversial sale of taxi medallions. The proposals would have to go through a series of public hearings before they could be adopted. The MTA budget must also be approved by the Board of Supervisors. 

"There aren’t any easy choices, but right now everything is on the table," said True, who added a
presentation by CFO Sonali Bose is intended to give the Board and the public staff’s
recommendations for options to address the deficit and "the difficult
decisions have to be made by the Board after public input."

The next MTA Board Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17th, at 2pm in City Hall room 400.

Flickr photo: pbo 31

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