A report by the Chronicle talking about fare inspectors shows that Muni may raise the price of an Adult "Fast Pass" from $45/month to $55/month. The new hike will be effective on July 1st, 2009.
Let's do a little bit of math on what the fare hike will do to your pocket:
Assuming the regular fare will remain at $1.50 per person...
- The current pass price is $45, one must use the bus pass at least 30 times or 15 round-trips to get its full value.
- The new pass price is $55, one must use the bus pass at least 37 times or 18 1/2 round-trips to get its full value.
- Using the current pass price, the commuter can miss five days worth of rides (due to illness, holidays, driving directly to work, carpool, etc.) and still get the value of the pass.
- Under the new pass price, the passenger can only miss TWO days of commuting (or three trips due to the fraction in calculations) to lose the value of the fast pass. So if you are scheduling a day off to the dentist, a friend giving you a lift to/from work, or you are just sick, you might be wasting money on your public transit.
So Muni, if our citizens do the math on their commute and realize that raising the pass price will actually force commuters to lose money, won't that make the buses even slower? Passengers will have to pay in cash or token tickets to save money.
If Muni wants to make A GOOD INCENTIVE... offer Translink cards that includes a discount on a monthly pass. Translink fast passes would cost $45 or no more than $50. But since BART is not ready and god knows when Cable Cars will be ready, keep the price low in exchange for killing off BART and Cable Cars (for now). Muni pays thouands of dollars to produce passes and transfers, so Muni can save money and give a deal to passengers by reducing printing costs by getting people on Translink.
Lastly, did anyone notice on the back of the January 2009 Fast Pass that it does not mention about the 3-day grace period after the end of the month? That's odd, the SFMTA website says the 3-day grace period is still valid. So if you ride Muni Metro, click on that link and print out that page, some moron fare inspector might claim "well, the back of your pass says nothing about a grace period." Then show the person that printout with the date stamp, and say "I hope you brought your reading glasses!"
(Photo from SFGov website, public domain since it is a government website)