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Proposal stretches Muni transfers to two hours

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New Muni farebox transfers
Transit advocates say two hours of transfer time is needed to accommodate longer or more complex single rides for Muni riders.

Muni riders may get an extra 30 minutes to make transfers between buses and trains.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors will consider on Tuesday at its regular board meeting increasing the transit agency’s long-time policy of 90-minute transfers to two hours for single-ride cash fares.

UPDATE The SFMTA Board of Directors approved extending the Muni transfer to two hours at its July 16 board meeting and will go into effect on Sept. 1.

A Muni transfer gives time for riders on a single trip to change buses or trains to reach their destination. Public comments during discussion of the transit agency’s two-year budget said riders could complete shorter errands such as medical appointments, shopping or dining if the transfer time was longer, the SFMTA report said.

The report said increasing the time limit will support the transit agency’s goal of encouraging more people to ride Muni and reduce private vehicle trips.

Executive Director of the San Francisco Transit Riders Rachel Hyden said the request to increase the time limit came because some single-ride trips can take more than 90 minutes:

“Given a transfer is actually your proof of payment, we asked SFMTA to consider adding 30 more minutes to the transfer to ensure riders can get to their final destination without having to pay twice.”

Hyden added that having to pay again when a transfer expires is not competitive to less-sustainable modes of transportation.

The SFMTA report said the transit agency does not expect the extra 30 minutes to have a fiscal impact:

“Revenue loss associated with the increased single ride fare time limit is expected to be offset by increased trips as a result of making transit service more economically competitive for short-term trips.”

Transit officials will also consider moving up the implementation date of the fare decrease of the one-, three- and seven-day passes for people who buy them through MuniMobile or with a Clipper card.

The SFMTA had planned to apply new the fares next year in January, but staff have suggested implementing the new fares this Sept. 1 in conjunction with other fare changes.

The board will also consider a change to the discount and low-income monthly Fast Pass. The SFMTA has a policy of setting discount fares at 50 percent below the full adult fare.

SFMTA staff said rounding the figures put the discount fare for the monthly pass over the 50 percent threshold. The board will have to approve reducing from $2 to $1 the increase in the cost of the pass for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 fiscal years, according to the SFMTA staff report.

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