Poor MUNI. It seems MUNI just can’t get a break these days. Our wonderful city’s transit system is being buried alive under a huge deficit, and its riders are going down with it. Anyone concerned about the current proposed MUNI service cuts and fare increases should attend the SFMTA meeting on Friday February 26 in Room 400 at City Hall at 9am. These are hard times for MUNI, as their budget is out of control, there has already been a ton of service cuts, people are just starting to get used to paying more for their fast passes, and violence on buses and bus crashes continue. So it is imperative that MUNI riders speak up regarding issues that pertain to their safety and financial well-being during this Friday’s morning meeting. There you can offer your ideas on how MUNI can balance its budget.
There is no doubt that the most significant factor in the agency’s recent budget crises is the state’s cut of transit funds-the MTA has lost $179.1 million in State Transit Assistance funding over the past three fiscal years. Now, the MTA is proposing more service cuts to Muni in order to close a $16.9 million projected budget gap through the end of the fiscal year. The cuts are as bad as the ones introduced in December, and, if approved, are scheduled to go into effect in May. Some of the changes include reducing frequencies on every Muni line; increasing fares on services including the F-line, express routes, and cable cars; and charging MTA employees for parking. The major factors affecting the deficit are:
• the projected increases in the cost of benefits including health, retirement, and other benefits, which add up to about $37 million over two years;
• an increase in incremental operating costs from capital projects, including TransLink, onboard video cameras, and NextMuni, adding up to $29 million over two years;
• economy-related decreases in income from fees and fines; and • $42.2 the agency had in its funds this year that won’t be available in coming years.
This meeting could be MUNI riders’ last chance to voice their opinion. And the meetings are sure to arouse anger among riders who are already feeling the burden of service cuts and fare hikes. Since there is no organization focused on making Muni better, it is up current MUNI riders to come together during scheduled meetings such as the one this Friday. Here at the Brod Law Firm, we believe riders can make a difference by voicing their opinions now, before the changes are approved and implemented.