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Thursday, November 5, 2009

What Muni Fast Pass Hike? SFMTA Hasn't Told Anyone

One of my popular postings at Akit's Complaint Department is titled: "Muni Fast Pass goes up January: How to still save money" and explains about the planned raising of Muni's adult Fast Pass from $55 (w/BART), to $60 (w/out BART) and $70 (w/BART). My source to the price hike is a link to a SF Appeal article posted on September 1, 2009.

January 2010 is not far away; there has been no word from the SFMTA/Muni of a Fast Pass price hike anywhere on their website. It's not on their front page, and not on their "Passes, Tickets, and Single-Ride Ticket Booklets" page (as of Wednesday). That's really odd.

While the SFMTA has failed to provide proper notice to the public about a pass hike; it has been widely known for the past several months that a price hike on the adult pass is planned to happen in January. Here are a list of articles you can read that supports this claim:
I also received an e-mail from one of my readers who works in the City and County of San Francisco and it mentioned that they know a pass hike is going to happen (courtesy of e-mails from the city's commuter benefits contractor). The person also provided his/her opinion: "Muni seems to be silent on the topic."


My question to SFMTA/Muni: Where is the official notice to the public about the adult Fast Pass price increase?

The media can claim there will be a hike, but no official notice from the agency makes it difficult for the public to know if it is true or not.

Do they know the consequences of NOT providing ample notice of a pass cost increase?
  • Commuter benefits companies must know ahead of time so they can inform their users and update their websites where people place their orders.
  • Employees who uses commuter benefits must notify their HR or payroll supervisor with ample time (at least one month before a hike) to raise their pre-tax deduction from their payroll. At SF State, employees have until November 30th to make any deduction changes to be effective for January.
  • For Commuter Check Direct users, the last day to make any changes for your January passes/tickets/checks is December 5th (as long as you give notice to your payroll/HR department).
  • People who receive paper commuter benefits vouchers will be shocked that they are $5 to $15 short and must pay the remainder in cash. Remember, pre-taxed from your paycheck saves about 20%, but paying extra in cash is considered post-tax.
  • TransLink card management must make proper adjustments to their computer software to reflect a major change. That takes time to reprogram versus printing new passes with a different cost and giving them to vendors.
Our public transit agency cannot give us late notice of changes. Here's a couple of not so timely changes:
You can't give less than two months notice to people of a pass hike due to the major affect it will have on the public who uses commuter benefits.

Here's a lesson for Muni:
  • "Early" is on-time.
  • "On-Time" is late.
  • "Late" is a pissed-off public.
How do I evaluate Muni's performance with providing timely notice about changes to their routes and fare structure? They FAILED. Public/government relations my ass.


Anonymous said...

For what it's worth CommuterCheckDirect sent me an email about a month ago informing me of the hike and letting me know that they will automatically change my order to the $70 MUNI pass if I don't change it myself. So at least someone is telling the commuter benefit companies.

Anonymous said...

I work for the City/County, and I just now received my email. Infuriating.

Akit said...

Just received the e-mail? They must have read the blog.

Anonymous said...

I seem to be the only one in my workplace that keeps up on these things. We get our Commuter Benefit Checks in 3-month blocks and the latest was for Nov-Dec-Jan, so we'll all be paying-out-of-pocket for January. Our program director, who I am not sure told me the whole truth, said we can't update our request amount for a month that has already been distributed. I have written to SFMTA twice asking where the public announcement is and let them know how this will effect a large segment of FastPass buyers that purchase the pass using commuter benefits. Their response to me, after about a week and half delay, was that they informed certain agencies. Whatever. This is frustrating. All we are asking for is proper notice. It popped up early this year in the proposed changes, but once fares went up mid-summer, the Jan. 1, 2010 increase seemed to disappear. Ugh!