The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors held a public hearing this afternoon to discuss proposed fare increases and other changes that would impact the agency’s operating budget for the next two years.
In preparing the more than $1.8 billion budget for the next two years, the board projected there will be a $22.2 million surplus for 2015-16 and $15 million for the following fiscal year.
Even with the projected surplus, the board floated various fare changes today that would, in part, go toward costly capital projects such as the Central Subway being built from the Caltrain station to Chinatown, improving and upgrading the Muni fleet, and other bicycle, pedestrian and safety improvement projects.
Some of those fare changes include bumping the current adult fare for a Muni ticket to $2.25 up from $2.
On the tourist-heavy F-Market and Wharves streetcar line, the cost for a ride could triple to the price of a cable car ticket, or $6.
The board is looking into different variations on possible free fare programs for qualifying seniors and disabled riders, and also considered expanding the “Free Muni for Youth” pilot program.
That 16-month pilot started last March, and allows qualifying low-and moderate-income youth between 5 and 17 years old to ride Muni at no cost.
The board is considering expanding the program to youth up the age of 18, at the additional cost of about $1.14 million a year.
The program as is costs about $2.9 million each year.
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos shared his support of expanding coverage of the program for 18-year-olds and also adding seniors and passengers with disabilities as those qualifying for free transit.
In a report released today by the city’s Board of Supervisors Budget and Legislative Analyst, the program has cost less to run in the past year than the anticipated $5.1 million per year.
According to Campos’ office, an estimated 31,000 youth have enrolled in the program in the past year.
The SFMTA board will hold a second public hearing on its budget on March 4. A finalized budget proposal will be presented to the board on April 1 before an April 15 vote. The final budget then has to be implemented by June 30.
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