"Akit is the man. He knows Clipper." (spenta)
"It’s a fantastic blog for any San Franciscan."
"Your blog is always on point, and well researched!" (Nina Decker)
"Everyone's favorite volunteer public policy consultant..." (Eve Batey, SF Appeal)
"You are doing a great job keeping on top of Translink stuff. Keep up the good work!"
(Greg Dewar, N Judah Chronicles)
"...I don't even bother subscribing anywhere else for my local public transportation info. You have it all..."
(Empowered Follower)
"If anyone at City Hall wants to make public transit better for all San Franciscans, it would be wise to follow Akit religiously...
or, better yet, give him a job."
(Brock Keeling, SFist)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Can Muni Simplify the Proof of Payment Policies?

I've mentioned in a recent blog entry about needing some clarification about Muni's "Proof of Payment" policy.

I stated my interpretation of the expired transfer policies are different between POP (metro) and non-POP lines (buses and F-Market). For metro lines, an expired transfer during the journey is bad because of the risk of a $75 ticket, but for buses, the policy is different as an expired transfer during the journey is OK, just as long as the passenger entered the vehicle when the transfer didn't expire.

A recent anonymous commenter made a good point:
Not sure what you mean by non-POP line. All of what I have read explains that every bus, train and platform is POP.

"You must have valid Proof of Payment when riding on a Muni rail line or bus route or while within the paid area of Muni stations."
My response to his/her comment:
It's a two part definition:

Proof of Payment is required for all Muni lines as inspectors can check if a passenger has a valid pass or paid their fare with a transfer.

Proof of Payment is also defined to differentiate the metro lines vs. the non-metro lines. Metro requires valid "proof of payment" which is a valid pass or non-expired transfer during the entire journey. Non-POP lines are defined as the buses and F-Market where a valid pass is required or a non-expired transfer upon entry (OK to expire during journey).

It made me think about the POP policies posted on the SFMTA website. It's just way too complicated.

The word "Proof of Payment" is defined in more than one way, and that confuses the hell out of me. When it is defined as a receipt or pass for when riding all vehicles and paid platforms, it's quite simple. But when using it to also define "POP lines" and "non-POP" lines with different sets of rules (e.g. expired transfer policy), it messes things up.

It also complicates the problem with Clipper cards. Since passengers who pay with e-cash don't get a paper transfer that tells them when it expires, some may not keep track of what time they first tagged their card, and if their card is still valid within the 90 minute window. When a person tags their card between minute one and minute 89 of their valid transfer for entry to a metro vehicle, their entry is valid, but most won't keep track of their transfer validity. How is this handled when encountering a fare inspector?

I propose simplifying the Proof of Payment system to make it easier for everyone.
  1. The standard rules of fare evasion still applies. No proof of payment and boarding through the rear doors of buses regardless of valid proof of payment in constitutes a violation.
  2. Proof of Payment is required for all Muni lines.
  3. To obtain proof of payment, pay at a faregate, a farebox on vehicles, or for metro vehicles, the operator's cab on the first car. Clipper automatically retains proof of payment electronically when successfully tagged on a card reader.
  4. For paper transfers, riding any vehicle requires the transfer to not be expired. If expired, obtain a new transfer from the operator.
  5. For Clipper e-transfers paid with e-cash, entry into the vehicle for the first tag gives 90 minutes of validity, however, if the passenger enters a vehicle with less than 30 minutes left on the transfer, the passenger has 30 minutes to complete their stage of the journey without being fined (e.g. passenger enters w/e-transfer with 15 minutes left, but can ride until 15 minutes after e-transfer expires).
That was easy, just five rules. There's no fork in the road that separates the "POP lines" versus the "non-POP lines," and differing expiring transfer policies. Either you have proof or not.

Muni can still speed-up their bus service if they allow all-door boarding. Yep... in their [unionized] dreams.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that the fare inspector system costs way too much and has many negative benefits. Now, they are doing away with paper fast passes!

Why dump on the union? The mamagement is overpaid and sluggish to respond!