Mayor, Supervisors Agree: MUNI Should Be Free, Suggest We Pay For It With New Unicorn Tax!

Reading news about MUNI these days, you begin to wonder if the people in charge live on the same planet, much less same city, as we do. It was not long ago we found out why it is MUNI has a recurring problem with “deficits”, and that perhaps Our City Leaders might have read something about this as well.
Clearly they didn’t. Or if they did they seem to have come up with new junkie logic, even more impressive than recent examples we’ve seen to justify the vague, probably-won’t-happen-anyway promise of “free” MUNI.
It goes something like this: MUNI is doing such a bad job of collecting fares anyway, why not simply abolish them (and the $137 million it brings in) and instead, make MUNI free. It’ll “boost ridership” and the system will “run better.” Everyone’s happy and has that feel-good sensation that makes the world a sparkly, happy place.
Notice how there’s one thing missing in said junkie logic: how to pay for the system as-is, not to mention paying for the system we need, or the system’s unforeseen costs in the future. No matter -we can raise the tax on unicorns (or perhaps tax gun-wielding dragons) and we’ll be fine!

Now, if there was a reliable way to implement the results of the SF Transit Effectiveness Project and develop long-term, stable, non gimmicky ways to pay for MUNI that resulted in better service and a free or heavily discounted MUNI, well that’d be great.
However, to do so takes a lot of smart people a lot of time to come up with long term solutions like these. Instead, our leaders offer us “feel-good” phrases to make everyone happy, and put off the sadness for later.
The “free MUNI” trial balloon has had at least one immediate effect: it got the Board of Supervisors, which had shot down a non-binding resolution demanding MUNI make FastPasses cheaper for the 18-24 set, to reconsider, then pass it, with Supervisor Aaron Peskin changing his mind, in light of the Mayor’s announcement.
There was a catch, however – the resolution now only demands a cheaper pass for youth aged 18 to 21. Persecuted 22, 23, and 24 year olds, who were apparently a priority last week, got thrown under the bus, so to speak. D’oh!

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4 Responses to Mayor, Supervisors Agree: MUNI Should Be Free, Suggest We Pay For It With New Unicorn Tax!

  1. WestAdd says:

    Poor 22-25 yr olds. Having to pay for Muni full fare. Boo fuckin Hoo.
    Anyway, I cracked up laughing today reading in the Examiner that Ms. Lynch of MUNI said that “many people in town are enthusiastic” about the new Chinatown billion-dollar mini-subway. That’s funny, I thought it was pretty much the consensus of transit experts (and common sense users like me) that it was a big waste of $ that could be put to MUCH better use. I think only certain businesspeople are in favor of this ridiculous new subway. Put in under Geary instead… that would be smart use of the $.

  2. Greg says:

    the central subway is a joke. They’ve half-assed it so now a formerly sort of stupid plan that wastes billions is now a REALLY stupid plan to waste billions.
    but the Chinatown business interests had to be placated when Willie Brown was running for re-election – and now we have a billion dollar frak up that will ensure MUNI is a joke in the future..

  3. Nancy says:

    Sometimes when I read the Chron and the latest plan(s) of our dear leaders, mayor et al., I wonder what they are smoking and where can I buy some of it?

  4. JR says:

    I just moved here from Chicago a few months back and when I read that, I was wondering what they were thinking as well.
    I’ve thought what they really need to do is raise the fare, but I know here in SF that’ll get me branded as transplant yuppie scum.
    I believe there should definitely be a system in place for (heavily-)discounted fares for those who need them, but it strikes me that a majority of riders could afford to pony up more money for a better system. I guess I’d be considered SF-middle class, I make just under $40K a year, but I wouldn’t mind an extra $20 or even $25 a month if it means improved service. That’s as more an unlikelihood than free Muni though…uff da, I shudder to think.

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