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Monday, December 20, 2010

$829,000 for Two Muni Sales Booths? I Thought the Agency was Broke

On Thursday, December 16th, the SFMTA's public relations department published a press release mentioning about opening a new "customer service" location where the public can purchase various Muni fare media and handle Clipper card transactions, and replacing the existing sales booth at the Powell cable car turnaround.

Total cost of the new booths: $829,000, and all paid for by grants. Ouch, $414,500 per booth? What is Muni smoking now?

Other than replacing the booth at the Cable Car turnaround, a new booth will be established at Geary and Presidio, home to the Presidio Yard where the trolley buses are stored and serviced.

But why a new booth? For you long time San Franciscans out there, you've always known the Muni 2nd floor revenue office at Geary & Presidio was also the sales office to purchase all the Muni pass media. The old location closed when they moved all pass sales to their new office at Van Ness and Market.

But, who even likes going to the SFMTA office down at Van Ness? Since April 1st, Muni has been tacking on a $3 surcharge at that location. Nobody is that dumb to pay that kind of price when vendors like supermarkets don't charge such a stupid fee (except those "My Transit Plus" booths like at Embarcadero station loves charging 85 cents for using a debit card).

So why spend $400,000 on a booth when the SFMTA can simply restore the old sales location or refurbish an office space in their facility on Geary? Does the booth also include a gold toilet? If Muni wanted a new booth, they could spend at least 75% less and still get the safety and security it requires.

The new booth opens on December 27th. I wonder if anyone is even going to notice it or just how soon will the agency also tack a $3 surcharge just for using it.

Money down the toilet. That's the Muni way for ya.


Erik said...

If it is funded by a grant then it is free money intended for a specific project and not coming from their regular budget.

Akit said...

The big question is, where is this grant money coming from? If it's from some taxpayer source, it's still coming from our pockets.

Anonymous said...

Free grant money? No such thing - that grant money could have been used for something higher priority than building a new ticket booth.