Release date: SFMTA Announces Decriminalization of Transit Citations
*** Press Release ***
As of Monday, February 4, 2008, transit citations on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Municipal Railway (Muni) will no longer be criminal citations for adult offenders, 18 years and older, and will no longer require processing by the San Francisco Superior Court.
A transit citation is a fare evasion or misconduct offense as described in Sections 127 and 128 of Article 6 of the San Francisco Traffic Code. The complete code sections are available at www.sfgov.org.
Examples of fare evasion include, but are not limited to, boarding a vehicle without prior or concurrent payment of fare; boarding through a rear exit unless a representative is present to collect fares; and misusing any transfer, pass, ticket, or token with the intent to evade payment.
Examples of misconduct include, but are not limited to. playing loud music; smoking, eating or drinking; spitting; and willfully disturbing or blocking the free movement of others.
Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr., Executive Director/CEO of the SFMTA explained: “By taking transit citations out of the courts for adult offenders, we are able to provide a faster, more convenient, and less intimidating process for paying or protesting these citations. Now, similar to dispensing with a parking ticket, customers can use the Customer Service Center at 11 South Van Ness for these citations. We want to make sure that customers understand that they can have a positive affect on the quality of experience on Muni. Paying the fare and helping us keep the vehicles clean enhances the atmosphere, allowing all customers to have a turn in making Muni service more pleasant.”
Customers under the age of 18 who receive a transit citation will still need to process their citations through the Superior Court. The juvenile justice system cites abuses such as fare evasion as gateway crimes and seeks to intervene early in what may become a pattern of delinquency.
Historically, fare evasion and misconduct offenses have been administered through the Superior Court. This has proven a confusing and cumbersome process for both SFMTA customers and employees. The Court fees were difficult to track and the SFMTA had little or no way to assist customers with this process. State Senator Carole Migden introduced a bill (SB 1749, approved January 2007) to amend state code. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved amendments to San Francisco Traffic Code September 2007.
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