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Warning: SFMTA Budget Balancing Ahead

Warning: SFMTA Budget Balancing Ahead

Photo via jlogs40 on Flickr

Muni's budget was reported as being balanced last Thursday.  The question now is what will happen with all of the surplus money. No, just kidding. That's just an early April Fool's Day warm-up joke. Muni's budget has as much chance of being balanced, or running at a surplus as do most of our own personal budgets. Muni is facing a $53.2 million budget deficit over the next 2 years ($19.6 million in 2013 and $33.6 million in 2014), and in order to try to slow down the bleeding, SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin has proposed some changes.  Here are some of the highlights:
 
12 SFMTA Managerial Positions Cut
The chief said, "Before asking anybody for any money, I wanted to make sure that I had taken the steps that I thought I could responsibly take to reduce our costs internally." This will trim over $2 million annually.  Reiskin also is proposing more routine maintenance on equipment which result in less overtime pay.
 
Sunday Meters Enforced From 12 pm to 6 pm
The rationale is that people aren't allowed to ride MUNI for free on Sunday, so why should people be allowed to park for free. "When the meters were put in back in the 50s, Sundays were a very different day and there was very little commerce on Sundays. Today they're not much different than a Saturday...Free Sunday parking is just not warranted or appropriate anymore."
 
However, Sunday meter enforcement starting at noon creates the scenario of a seventh inning stretch of sorts needing to be built in to religious services, as half of the 11 am worshippers will now be standing up at noon and interrupting the worship in order to go out and feed the meters.
 
500 to 1000 New Meters to be Installed
This combined with Sunday enforcement are estimated to bring in $3.5 million more in revenue combined.  That's just in meter revenue.  I estimate that Sunday parking will result in another $4 million in citation revenue.
 
All-Door Boarding
It is estimated that 25% of Muni's delays are due to front door only boarding. All-door boarding using Clipper Cards (cash only at the front) is likely to boost Muni's 8mph average route speed.  Enough enforcement officers will be hired and the idea "is for everyone to have the expectation that they'll be asked for proof that they've paid their fare."
 
Free Passes for Low-Income Youth
The new budget proposal also calls for a pilot program offering free Muni passes for low-income youth, which will create a new generation of riders and ensure that money is not a reason for youths to not attend school.
 
$5 Increase in Parking Tickets
A $5 state administrative fee per citation will be passed on to drivers.
 
Better Maintenance and Cleaning

"Those are things that I think have been cut over the years where we haven't been keeping up with our investment in the core services that support the frontline service delivery," said Reiskin.
 
Feel free to comment on the budget down below. The SFMTA board of directors is scheduled to vote on this proposal on Tuesday, April 3.
 
To see a running meter of SF parking citation revenue, please click here.