Tuesday, March 11, 2014

As fares climb halfway to the stars...

The citizens of San Francisco rally to preserve cute, but the money will come from?
MTA has suggested treating them like the cable cars and charging $6 fares for adults taking single rides. Fast Pass users and visitors with Muni passports could still ride the old streetcars at no added cost. A second proposal, which has gotten less attention, suggests a $1 premium be added to the standard Muni fare for rides on the F-Market line.
The $6 proposal, according to MTA documents, would raise an estimated $4.9 million annually in the next two budget years, which run from July through June. The $1 premium would cost $250,000 to implement in the first year and then raise $1.3 million a year.
In a series of town hall meetings discussing the budget, MTA officials acknowledged that charging more to ride the F-Market line has been extremely unpopular. They say it's not a done deal and even bristle at it being labeled a proposal.
"These are just ideas put on the table as something to consider," said Paul Rose, an MTA spokesman. "We wanted to put the idea before the public."The public, almost universally, does not approve.
At least some there have a bit of knowledge of supply and demand;
Tourism officials, as well as merchants at Fisherman's Wharf, also object, saying the $6 fare could create a perception that San Francisco is too expensive and unwelcoming to visitors, and that the high costs would encourage tourists to take taxis and ride services or drive around the city.
"It is easy to see how this would create an incentive for travelers from distant locations to choose taxi service over what would become a more costly transit option," Jon Ballesteros, San Francisco Travel's vice president for public policy, wrote in a letter to MTA directors. "The unforeseen consequences would be additional cars, more congestion, increased air emissions and frustration for visitors and residents alike." 
Now, let's put that analytic ability to thinking about the 'unforeseen consequences' of raising the minimum wage, or zoning neighborhoods to interfere with market forces for housing.

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