Backdoor boarding speeding up Muni

Most of you won’t believe this, but Muni is in fact getting faster.

In a presentation to the SFMTA Board’s Policy and Governance Committee, early statistics show that within the first month of implemented backdoor boarding, time spent at stops has decreased between 14 and 16 percent on certain lines.

The most significant improvement belongs to the 1-California and its rush-hour companion the 1AX. Time spent at each stop dropped 16 percent.

The line also experienced more passengers using the backdoor, with an increase of 1,200 percent.

Other lines surveyed included the 49-Van Ness, 14-Mission and 38-Geary, with the 49 showing the least improvement. “Dwell times” at its stops only went down 1 percent.

An explanation for the below-average improvement could be that backdoor boarding was significantly more common already — before the official policy — on these lines.

Decreasing time at stops was the main reason for approving backdoor boarding. Muni lines have a habit of spending up to 30 percent of their routes at stops.

The move also intended to deter fare evasion, with ten additional fare inspectors being hired. Inspectors are strategically positioned to stop those without proof of payment from boarding in the back.

It is uncertain if this effort will be enough to stop evaders.

Of the complaints the SFMTA received, 9 percent are due to perceived fare invasion by inspectors when there was no offense.

About 64 percent of complaints were about drivers not opening the back doors for boarding. Closing the doors on passengers and rider complaints about the policy make up 10 percent each.