Transit Riders Win Half-Hour Extension on Muni Tickets

Riders will have a full two hours to complete their journeys

An overcrowded train at Civic Center Station. Photo: RobVSFsFlickr
An overcrowded train at Civic Center Station. Photo: RobVSFsFlickr

Starting this September, Muni riders will have two hours, rather than the current 90 minutes, to complete their journeys on a single fare.

The change, approved at Tuesday’s SFMTA board meeting, was a major victory for advocates with the San Francisco Transit Riders (SFTR).

“This was a direct request San Francisco Transit Riders asked of the SFMTA as part of the budget process. Cash fares are increasing again, and given that it can sometimes take more than 90 minutes for a one-way trip on Muni, we asked SFMTA to consider adding 30 additional minutes to the transfer to ensure riders can get to their final destination without having to pay twice,” said Rachel Hyden, Executive Director of the San Francisco Transit Riders, in a prepared statement. “We are thrilled SFMTA took our request to heart and is making it happen!”

Starting in Sept., this same ticket will expire at 12:32 p.m. Image SFMTA
Starting in Sept., this same ticket will expire at 12:32 p.m. Image SFMTA

The idea to extend the transfer, according to the SFTR, came from their board’s director Genesis Garcia. The idea is that by extending the time to two hours, riders who have long journeys from outlying areas will have a better buffer if a bus is delayed or a transfer missed. Moreover, it will better enable people to run short errands on a single fare–and thereby make Muni more competitive with Ubers, scooters, taxis, etc.

Meanwhile, achieving this time increase is part of the advocacy philosophy of letting the end user–the customers–drive policy decisions, rather than planners. “SFTR believes that it’s the daily riders, and not just the professional planners, who can help direct a transit first, and rider first, policy,” they wrote in their release about the fare change.

Now the SFTR can work on fare caps and free inter-agency transfers (such as between BART and Muni within SF)…not to mention coordinating schedules and removing the bars between BART and Muni in Civic Center. These and other issues will no doubt be under discussion as the SFTR celebrates their regular PUBlic Transit CRAWL, tonight, starting at 5:30 p.m., at The Willows, 1582 Folsom St, S.F. (and then moving to other locations on the 9 San Bruno).

  • baklazhan

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that the move to the automatically printed tickets reduced what used to be a two hour (or more) transfer to a sharp 90 minutes. So this is to some extent just a return to the previous status.

  • p_chazz

    I knew a woman who rode a bus where the driver flirted with her. He would give her “Emergency” transfers that were good for 24 hours.

  • p_chazz

    I see very few people paying cash fares. Most passengers use their Clipper cards or they don’t pay at all.

  • mx

    Yep. There’s also the unlimited late-night transfer from 8:30pm-5:30am, but if you use a Clipper card, you have to magically know not to tag your card again after the first time after 8:30, or it will just keep charging you. Clipper has been around for 8+ years; why is it still out to rip you off by not properly implementing fare rules like this?

  • Mario Ramirez

    I agree, does this also apply to Clipper cash fares or just at the farebox? Feels like it should be both.

  • Sean

    It’s 90’s technology. At least they have the 3 day grace period for monthly passes programmed in. If you want innovative fare products Cubic asks for expensive change orders. RM3 is supposed to help pay for Clipper 2.0, which is supposed to fix things.

  • Edward

    Clipper fares are always as good as or better than fares paid with actual cash.

  • Something more subtle is going which I don’t think I’ve ever seen mentioned online; with the new fareboxes, “transfers” became “tickets”.

    It’s not a one-way fare anymore, or just for a literal transfer, it’s a ticket valid for unlimited Muni use during the 90-minute / 2-hour window.

    Also, the word problem about keeping the transfer as proof of payment has been widdled down to a simple”keep receipt”, the proof or payment logo nobody knows or cares about is gone as well, and there is even art on the other side!

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