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Transit Riders Win Half-Hour Extension on Muni Tickets

An overcrowded train at Civic Center Station. Photo: RobVSFsFlickr

Starting this September, Muni riders will have two hours, rather than the current 90 minutes, to complete their journeys on a single fare.

The change, approved at Tuesday's SFMTA board meeting, was a major victory for advocates with the San Francisco Transit Riders (SFTR).

“This was a direct request San Francisco Transit Riders asked of the SFMTA as part of the budget process. Cash fares are increasing again, and given that it can sometimes take more than 90 minutes for a one-way trip on Muni, we asked SFMTA to consider adding 30 additional minutes to the transfer to ensure riders can get to their final destination without having to pay twice,” said Rachel Hyden, Executive Director of the San Francisco Transit Riders, in a prepared statement. “We are thrilled SFMTA took our request to heart and is making it happen!”

Starting in Sept., this same ticket will expire at 12:32 p.m. Image SFMTA
Starting in Sept., this same ticket will expire at 12:32 p.m. Image SFMTA

The idea to extend the transfer, according to the SFTR, came from their board's director Genesis Garcia. The idea is that by extending the time to two hours, riders who have long journeys from outlying areas will have a better buffer if a bus is delayed or a transfer missed. Moreover, it will better enable people to run short errands on a single fare--and thereby make Muni more competitive with Ubers, scooters, taxis, etc.

Meanwhile, achieving this time increase is part of the advocacy philosophy of letting the end user--the customers--drive policy decisions, rather than planners. "SFTR believes that it’s the daily riders, and not just the professional planners, who can help direct a transit first, and rider first, policy," they wrote in their release about the fare change.

Now the SFTR can work on fare caps and free inter-agency transfers (such as between BART and Muni within SF)...not to mention coordinating schedules and removing the bars between BART and Muni in Civic Center. These and other issues will no doubt be under discussion as the SFTR celebrates their regular PUBlic Transit CRAWL, tonight, starting at 5:30 p.m., at The Willows, 1582 Folsom St, S.F. (and then moving to other locations on the 9 San Bruno).

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