Tuesday, January 29, 2008

No Free Rides

Photo courtesy of Charles Haynes.

Today the SF Gate reports that there will be no free rides on Muni any time soon. They write:
"It's not something that we plan to pursue at this time," said Stuart Sunshine, the mayor's top transportation aide.

Newsom asked transit officials in March to study a no-fare system, saying at the time, "If it could happen here, it could happen anywhere." His suggestion was aimed at luring people out of their cars to reduce air pollution and traffic.

The consulting team hired by the city, led by Sharon Greene & Associates, looked at what happened when other jurisdictions adopted free transit programs. In larger cities, such as Austin, Texas, Trenton, N.J., and Denver, ridership increased by nearly 50 percent.

If that happened to Muni, which now provides nearly 700,000 trips on an average day, the annual operating and maintenance costs would rise by nearly $69 million. Muni's annual budget is about $670 million.

While it is an interesting idea, and lots of people would love it, it doesn't appear to be feasible at this time. Somehow I doubt this is the last of the idea though.

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