Students React to Possible Muni Fare Increase
March 3, 2005 4:44 PM
SF State students are concerned about looming Muni fare increases after the Municipal Transportation Agency approved a 2005-2006 budget that included fare increases, increased parking rates and fines, and service cuts.
The budget must now be approved Mayor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.
Many SF State students said they are already short on finances due to education and living costs, and increased Muni fares will just add to a list of monthly expenses that are already difficult to manage.
Sociology major Katie Klain, 22, already has enough trouble scraping together the current fares.
“Obviously I don’t have the money,” Klain said. “I mean, I’m sneaking on the bus right now.”
Klain said the increase would discourage her and other students from riding Muni.
“It’s unfortunate because SF has one of the best public transportation systems, that we can’t utilize because the fares keep going up,” Klain said.
But it may be too soon to panic. San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said the proposed budget is “hanging in the balance” of the board’s approval.
“It requires eight votes to reject (the budget),” Peskin said, “And we’re darn close to that number.”
Peskin is concerned that Muni’s deficit will fall entirely on the shoulders of the riders and not on beneficiaries of Muni’s services, such as downtown businesses that rely on Muni for their commuting employees.
Peter Ragone, communications director for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, said that the mayor would rather not increase fares, but acknowledges that Muni is in “severe” financial trouble and needs a solution.
Another of Peskin’s concerns is increased pollution from former Muni riders opting to drive their cars instead of paying the high rates.
SF State computer science major Eric Gregory, 23, said that the fare increases would be more acceptable if there was an increase in service, rather than a decrease.
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