SFMTA approves Muni service increase

Seniors and disabled Muni riders weren’t the only ones benefiting from a better financial picture for San Francisco’s transportation agency over the next two fiscal years.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors are moving ahead with a seven percent Muni service increase, additional funding for cleaning Muni vehicles and eliminating telephone and online transaction fees charged for making a citation payment to the SFMTA.

The board last April included all of these programs in its two-year budget last year, which included free Muni for low-income seniors and people with disabilities, but was contingent on how the transit agency’s financial health looked like this month.

In a report, the transit agency said it would be able to financially support the increase in Muni service and the additional funding to hire more staff to clean Muni vehicles of graffiti and tagging.

The transit agency projects higher revenues in transit fares, parking fees and fines and also more funds from The City because of current state of the economy in San Francisco.

The seven percent Muni approved Tuesday follows a three percent increase in Muni service approved last April by the board for a total of a 10 percent service increase.

Muni riders will be able to start seeing some of the service increases starting Jan. 31, which includes the launch of Muni’s new 55-16th Street route and the increased frequency of the 44-O’Shaughnessy. A soft launch of the new route is set for Jan. 26, according to SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin.

The SFMTA said the rest of Muni service will start arriving in the spring and fall this year and winter 2016.

Transit officials also approved an additional $1.8 million for the SFMTA to hire additional staff to increase the cleaning intervals of Muni vehicles. Of the $1.8 million, the transit agency dedicated $600,000 through the current fiscal year and $1.2 million for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

The transit agency also got rid of its $2.50 transaction fee charged to people who pay their citations from the SFMTA online or by telephone, which will take effect on May 1.