5:00 - SPECIAL MEETING
ORDER OF BUSINESS
1. Call to Order
Chairman Flynn called the meeting to order at 5:08 p.m.
2. Roll Call
Shirley Breyer Black
H. Welton Flynn
James McCray, Jr.
Absent: Enid Lim
3. Director’s Report (for discussion only)
-FY2004 Muni and DPT budgets
Michael Burns, Director of Transportation, is recommending a transit fare increase for FY2004, including fixed route, paratransit and special service fare increases as part of the annual budget process. These increases are in response to a budget crisis throughout the city and state. It is important to note that a fare increase alone will not close the budget gap. This proposal is designed to share the burden, and to honor the Transit First policy. Other proposed changes include increases in parking fees, fines and rates and internal cutbacks and efficiencies. The goal is to preserve service quality and maintain rider satisfaction. Staff is continuing the back door boarding campaign, stepping up enforcement of Proof of Payment and pursing an earlier introduction of Translink. Public outreach has included meetings at all district police stations, meetings with Rescue Muni, the Citizen’s Advisory Council, the Paratransit Coordinating Council, Muni Accessibility Advisory Committee, all unions and mailed information to all employees and the public. This fare increase for Muni is the last resort as Muni has exhausted all other revenue sources.
Gigi Harrington, Deputy General Manager of Finance gave a brief overview of the budget deficit and proposed solutions.
4. Public Comment
Howard Strassner, Sierra Club, suggested that it doesn’t serve to separate parking fees from transit fares. Keeping parking fees low doesn’t provide any incentive to use public transit.
THE FOLLOWING MATTERS BEFORE THE MUNICIPAL TRANSPORTATION AGENGY BOARD OF DIRECTORS ARE RECOMMENDED FOR ACTION AS STATED, BY THE DIRECTOR OF TRANSPORTATION, AND CITY ATTORNEY WHERE APPLICABLE.
5. Public hearing to consider the Municipal Railway’s proposal to increase transit fares. (Explanatory documents include a staff report.)
Daniel Murphy, Chairman, Citizen’s Advisory Council, is mainly at the meeting to listen to public comment. The CAC’s Finance & Administration committee has been meeting with Muni and DPT. The Charter mandates CAC review and recommendations on the budget. Their last hearing will be on Thursday, February 13. He appreciates the time that staff has taken to answer the CAC’s questions, especially given their workload.
Malinka Moye thinks we live in one of best cities and that raising fares, especially for cable cars would help the economy. He suggested that the fare for residents could be lower than the rate charged for others.
Bill Price, President, Senior Action Network, represents 30,000 seniors and is opposed to any raise in fares. Nearly 50% of their membership is near the poverty level. He thinks school children should ride for free and it’s a shame that fares need to be raised for anyone
Marc Norton, People’s Budget, stated that a fare increase is unfair to working people, students, and seniors on a fixed income. He wondered why the city is trying to pick the pockets of Muni riders while ignoring the big pockets of downtown corporations. He suggested getting the money from downtown from enforcing the Transit Impact Development Fee and implementing a Downtown Transit Assessment District. He is against layoffs, fare increases, and service cuts.
Lee Blitch, President, Chamber of Commerce, noted that 80% of their membership is small business who do care about attracting jobs to San Francisco. He noted that Muni has done a good job of holding the fare rates steady over years when other Bay Area transit agencies have raised fares from 36% to 67%. He is supportive of a 25% fare increase.
Jewell McGinnis wants the board to know that any increase hurts but what’s most important is to have fare equity for all disabled people. She doesn’t care if someone is in a chair, on crutches, or using a white or support cane – all should be paying the same amount. Every other paratransit program in California has the same fare for all of its passengers.
Ellen Murray, Transit Operator, commented on the Transit Impact Development Fee. There has been no effort to collect monies from companies who said they were “business services”. Prop. E. requires that other revenue sources be pursued but that hasn’t been done. Local 250-A passed a resolution opposing a fare increase if TIDF fees aren’t collected. The proposed service cuts will impact seniors because a large percentage of people riding during non-peak hours are seniors. She noted that because of the wage progression operators have already paid their share.
Bruce Oka supports Muni’s recommendation for fare increases. All pain and gain must be shared. Overall, Muni is the best system in the U.S. in terms of usability, ease and affordability. Nobody likes a fare increase but in paratransit fares, there has been inequity for at least 7 years.
Stuart Baker, Commuter Check, serves 30,000 fast pass riders. He suggests using a rounded number, either $40 or $45, for the Fast Pass fare. A $45 pass would increase revenues, be more convenient for fast pass vendors and fare collectors and would still be less than 24 or 25 transit properties.
Pi Ra, Walk SF, thinks that a fare increase may be a disincentive to taking public transit. He supports an increase in parking fees and thinks that should be part of the package. He agrees that there needs to be a paratransit fare increase however the group van rate is too high as it’s the cheapest, most effective form of transportation and serves more frail seniors than any other mode.
Norm Rolfe thinks that Muni is doing the process in reverse. Staff should look at parking increases and other related charges and if there’s still a hole in the budget, then look at a fare increase. He supports an increase in garage rates, elimination of monthly parking at city owned garages, all free parking at city owned garages and free parking by city officials, and employees. He wants parking tax collection efforts stepped up and enforcement of transit-only lanes, and double-parking. He would like to see the TIDF increased and the residential parking permit changed.
Jeanne Lynch thinks the fare increases are good because you’re not taking
transfers away. Any increase is going to impact seniors, people with disabilities
and people on a low income.
She wants people to get back on Muni and get out of cars. She concurs with Mr. Rolfe’s statement.
Steven Currier, President, Outer Mission Residents Association stated that the OMRA endorses Muni’s fare increase. They would like to see more security on Muni. They have many seniors who ride the system and it takes over an hour to go from the neighborhood to downtown.
Daveed Mandell, California Council of the Blind noted that many East Bay residents are envious of the marvelous services that the city provides however; these services are threatened if they become unaffordable. He is in accordance with Ms. McGinnis’s request for fare equity. He urged the board to be cautious about raising fares because the East Bay fares are so high many seniors don’t go anywhere because they can’t afford it.
Joe Rowe thinks this is a tax on poor students. He understands the difficulty in balancing budgets but suggested that the board is being snowed because the people who are presenting the budget are nearsighted and aren’t smart enough. This increase pits poor people against poor people.
John-Marc Chandonia is opposed to the fare increase as it balances the deficit on the backs of people who can least afford it and who have no choice but to ride Muni. Increasing the cash fare by a quarter will slow service because people will have to search for the extra change. While service has gotten better, it isn’t as good as it was ten years ago. Explore other options such as market rate parking. Don’t target riders
Andrew Sullivan, Chairman, Rescue Muni, said his members didn’t vote to oppose a fare increase. If you leave fares where they are, it will result in unacceptable service cuts and decreased quality. They recommend a balanced package of changes, which will have everyone sacrificing fairly including car drivers, riders, management and labor. They support raising parking garage fees by 25% and an increase in the parking tax, the residential permit parking fee and garage rates. They support Translink and the elimination of standby runs.
David Pilpel thinks that Andrew spoke eloquently and he is largely in agreement. He urged the board to take Rescue Muni’s recommendations and the forthcoming CAC recommendations to account. Muni has made a case for a moderate fare increase of not more than $1.25 and a $40 fast pass. The discount fare of .45 cents could be raised to .50 cents and the youth fare could be the same level as the youth fares at other Bay Area agencies. He supports reinstitution of transfers on cable cars and that changes to interoperator agreements need to be discussed.
Howard Strassner, Sierra Club, also thinks that Mr. Sullivan did a great job. He urged the board to ask for a parking tax increase. He suggested having a surcharge on peak hour parking, leasing air rights over city parking lots for affordable housing and going after businesses that provide free parking for employees. He suggested that the city impose a gas tax and that the TIDF should be expanded.
Larry Edmond has been trying to get a bus routed into City College as many other colleges have shuttle buses. Money spent on public transportation must include education. People need to be given something that will make them get on the buses. Muni has greatly improved and it can get better.
Director Vaughns thanked the public for their input and insightful and provocative thoughts. Their comments will be taken into consideration when the board deliberates.
Director Casey asked for information about what type of equity program would be implemented for paratransit fares, including cost, other than what is currently proposed. Director Burns noted that staff worked closely with the paratransit community to achieve equity. He noted that the lift-van mode was already at $1.65 but will look at the impact of reducing that fee.
Director Burns also noted that staff is looking to increase parking fees, fines and rates in an order of magnitude similar to the fare increase. Details will be provided at the February 18th meeting.
Chairman Flynn stated his opposition to any increase in the cash fare for students and asked the board to support him in this. The amount Muni will get by a .10-cent increase won’t impact the budget but will impact students. He would like to see the recommended Fast Pass fare modified as he thinks it should be more.
Director Casey is in agreement about raising the cost of a Fast Pass and is fine with $45. He would like more discussion about the service issues.
Director Burns noted that this budget is very unusual. The MTA is required to have a budget in place by March 1 but many figures, such as staff efficiencies or the costs of collective bargaining, won’t be known by then. March 1 is clearly not the end of the process as staff is working with many assumptions. Approval of the budget will include a caveat of bringing the budget back to the board when those numbers are known.
Director Casey added that while there are many things that are allowed under Prop E, it doesn’t prevent the board from making policy recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.
Chairman Flynn added that it is an impossible situation to satisfy a great number of people but Muni has got to run the buses as best they can. In his thirty-year history on the board, there has never been a deficit that has ever approached this number. In the past the department could always go to the General Fund but that is no longer an option, not to mention the fact that there is no money in the General Fund. He congratulated staff on the phenomenal job they’ve done so far.
ADJOURN - The meeting was adjourned at 6:38 p.m.
A tape of the meeting is on file in the office of the Secretary to the Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors.
The Ethics Commission of the City and County of San Francisco has asked us to
remind individuals and entities that influence or attempt to influence local
legislative or administrative action may be required by the San Francisco Lobbyist
Ordinance [SF Admin. Code Sections 16.520 - 16.534] to register and report lobbying
activity. For more information about the Lobbyist Ordinance, please contact
the Ethics Commission at 1390 Market Street, Suite 801, San Francisco, CA 94102,
telephone 415-554-9510, fax 415-554-8757 and Web site: sfgov.org/ethics.
©2003 San Francisco Municipal Railway. All Rights Reserved.
Page last updated March 19, 2003.
Information last updated February 19, 2003.