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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

SF Muni's Fare Inspectors - A Waste of Tax Dollars?

A report from the SF Chronicle today reports that San Francisco Muni is allegedly catching "50 percent" more fare evaders than the last fiscal year.

So let us do some math straight from the stats of the SFMTA:
  • There are 50 fare inspectors hired.
  • The fiscal year reports: $492,232 of fines and late fees collected for the violations.

Divide the two numbers and you get $9,844.64, meaning this amount is collected in fines for every single fare inspector in a year. Of course, this does not count for people who appeal and get dismissed, and the ones who just refuse to pay the fine.

But think about it. Fare inspectors make at least $30,000 a year (although I think that they make more than this), and include benefits running about 70 cents per dollar. The SFMTA literally pays with tax money: $51,000 a year per fare inspector and the each one only writes out $9,800 in fines? This is what our tax dollars pay for?

Really, our city could do better if they get their accountants to do the math. Muni should compare their costs of the Muni Metro of the "old days" of when all passengers entered in the front and required NO inspectors (it was not necessary), and the new policy of boarding any door with the cost of 50 inspectors.

If Muni decides to revert to front door boarding, the changes needs to happen: One train operator per car, or at least one non-certified train operator managing the second train car. For the new POP platforms on the T-Third line, Stonestown, and SF State, hire a few to manage those platforms or regions, instead of enforcing the entire network.


Anonymous said...

The real offenders always get a free ride, no matter how many inspectors get hired. I can't remember all the times I've seen people run away from the fare inspectors, only to reboard the train at a later stop. In the end, none of the pervasive patterns of delinquency are solved. Perhaps some of those inspectors would haul in more cash if they were deployed on the bus lines, like the 38. I wonder why they don’t do that. Oh right, because the buses are always too crowded.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the fine $50? At $9800 per year per inspector that works out to ALMOST one ticket per workday.

OK, lets assume TWO per workday because I am sure that half of them are out on disability at any given time. Writing more than one ticket per day is a killer.