Muni All-Door Boarding, $2 Monthly Pass Hike Begin Sunday

Starting this Sunday, boarding the back of a Muni bus will be legal, so long as you pay. Transit advocates are excited to see the results of the long-awaited change, which will be the first of its kind in the nation. It’s expected to significantly speed up boardings and increase fare compliance.

These stickers will be placed on the back doors of Muni buses. Riders paying cash must still board up front.

The price of an adult monthly Muni pass will also go up $2 to adjust to inflation. (A Muni-only pass will cost $64. A pass also including BART within the city will cost $74.)

The changes go into effect on July 1, the start of the next fiscal year. They’re part of the SFMTA’s 2012-2013 budget, which also includes parking enforcement on Sundays, though it’s unclear when that will start. Although the Board of Supervisors has yet to approve the citywide budget, the SFMTA’s budget did pass the Budget and Finance Committee, and the agency is apparently moving ahead with the changes.

The SFMTA hasn’t done a huge amount of outreach to get the word out about all-door boarding, but the agency will replace the current “STOP” stickers on the back doors of all buses with stickers explaining the new rules (to remove language barriers, they use illustrations only). An SFMTA staffer also said the agency wanted to avoid misleading riders into thinking back-door boarding is permitted before it’s actually legal. And besides, as any regular Muni rider knows, back-door boarding is already common practice, so people don’t need a huge push to make the change.

To ensure people do continue paying their fares, the agency has hired ten new fare inspection employees, bringing the total up to 52, according to the SF Examiner. As Streetsblog has reported, all-door boarding will use random fare inspections, which is expected to increase fare compliance by eliminating the sense of security for evaders who make it onboard. Muni’s light rail lines, where the policy has been in effect for years, see half the average rate of fare evasion compared to bus lines.

The change should help move things along on lines like the 38-Geary, which, on average, spends more than half its time stopped. Riders who typically crowd up at the front of the bus, while leaving lots of room in the back, may also start distributing themselves more evenly. (Anecdotally, I’ve seen Muni drivers skip stops because, I gather, the bus appears misleadingly full to them through the rear-view mirror.) The SFMTA noted that it may also free up more room at the front door for those who need to use the wheelchair lift.

It’ll be interesting to see if the experiment proves a success. Other transit agencies will be watching.

  • mikesonn

    There are 52 fare inspectors? I’ve seen maybe 10 total in the 6 years I’ve been in SF. Could of fooled me.

  • Dan

    Looks like Ed Reiskin’s doing things under Ed Lee that Nat Ford only talked about during the Newsom years. 

  • Wouldn’t really praise Ed..

  • Kevin

    Call me a geek, but I totally admire that the signs get their point across with no words at all. 

  • AlexJB

    OMG, it’s about time MUNI introduced some decent word-free signage!  I get so depressed by all the signs that use big words non-english speakers totally wouldn’t recognize. Yay for visuals!  Oh, yeah, also yay for back door boarding though I think it’s pretty stupid to believe it will *increase* fare compliance.  Let’s just hope that it will increase timeliness and efficiency.

  • Fantastic! No other system I’ve lived with (GGT, DC’s Metrobus, Vancouver’s Translink) has allowed all-door boarding. Muni may have some horrific institutional problems but at least they do some great things like this at times.

  • PRE

    Are they going to move the Clipper card readers to the right side of the rear doors on all the buses so that people can enter on the right and exit on the left?  Why Muni put the readers on the left I’ll never know!

  • I was just thinking that the other day. Good idea.

  • Ted King

    Maybe the decision maker was British. For myself, I carry my Clipper card in my coat’s left pocket. Of course this makes the LRV’s somewhat awkward when I want to tap-and-hold.

  • Richard Mlynarik


    Any Number of signal,
    service or guide dogs
    for the disabled are
    allowed to ride Muni
    Free and Unmuzzled
    (29 USC Section 794, 42 USC Section 1231, CA C.C. § 54.2)


    It is unlawful for any person under 18
    years of age to have in this vehicle any
    spray paint container or any permanent
    marker with a tip one-half inch or larger.




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