For a long time, savvy Muni riders knew fare checkers were only deployed on certain lines and stops, making them fairly easy to evade. But Muni officials have finally caught on to the game, and they’re upping their strategy to much success.
New security chief Lea Militello, who joined Muni in November, is shaking things up. Instead of having her fare inspectors hit a few lines with known security issues, she’s dispersing her 50 fare inspectors across the city to cover every single route.
And the new surprise tactic is working. According to the SF Examiner, Muni issued 37,718 fare evasion citations during the last nine months, a jump from 21,061 tickets issued during the same period last year.
According to Militello, no fare evaders are safe:
“Just the other day, we popped on the N-Judah line and cited two emergency room doctors for not paying their fare. Everyone has to pay their fair share when they ride Muni, no matter if they’re from St. Francis Wood or the Excelsior.”
To help carry out the task, Militello has hired seven more fare inspectors and increased the number of days they’re checking for fare evaders.
And with the threat of a $100 fine, more Muni riders are happily paying their two bucks for fare. Just last month, the municipal transportation agency recorded a fare evasion rate of 4.7-percent, a whopping 50-percent drop from rates recorded in 2009.
So the lesson of the day?
Just avoid the headache and public embarrassment by forking over the two bucks. And then once you get that little transfer in hand, guard it with your life.