Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Okay to rip off tourists, not residents/voters

Photo, Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle

Now that he's retired, Willie Brown can say things city officials can't say, like the proposal to raise the F-line fare from $2 to $6:

Nothing wrong with the idea of soaking tourists for $6 to ride the historic F-line streetcars. Most of the riders are tourists and tourists don't vote, at least not here. If you've got to get money from someone, they offer the least resistance and least damage.

Yes, the city has "got to get money from someone" to feed the 5000-employee MTA bureaucracy.[Later: Make that 6,263 as of 2016] Besides, this is what the city already does to the suckers---I mean, tourists---who ride the cable cars, where the fare is $6---and they can't even get transfers! I think that's contemptible.

But how is what Brown says different than this in yesterday's Chronicle story (Plan would triple cost of riding S.F.'s historic streetcars)?

The rationale behind the $6 fare proposal is that the historic streetcars are, well, historic, and mostly ridden by tourists, like the cable cars...So the MTA has suggested treating them like the cable cars and charging $6 fares for adults taking single rides...

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."

Right, it's just an "idea" that appeared out of nowhere during budget discussions, not really a "proposal." Like the project that will screw up traffic on Masonic Avenue is a "streetscape" project, not a bike project.

Supervisors Wiener and Chiu objected in a letter to the MTA Board of Directors:

"Raising the fare for the F line above the regular Muni fare---and particularly raising it to $6---disregards the critical role the F plays in San Francisco's transit system for everyday Muni riders," they wrote. Treating the F-Market line "as a novelty tourist line," the supervisors said, ignores that it is the only surface transit line between the Castro and downtown and serves a long stretch of upper Market between the Church and Van Ness stations. It also serves locals traveling along the Embarcadero.

Wiener and Chiu don't mind ripping off tourists, you understand, but not "locals," aka their constituents, who, as Brown noted, vote in San Francisco.

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At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you get around SF without a car?

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And people wonder why so many tourists rent cars when they visit San Francisco!?! 6 dollars to ride an old streetcar is past homeless people is too much!!

I now live in Chicago but visit regularly and all you have to is observe at SFO how many people from your flight leave baggage claim to take the shuttle to the rental car counters. I can get a rental car for $35 a day which is less than the taxi ride from SFO.

Since my hotel of choice is the beautiful Cavallo Point lodge in Sausalito, I do not have to worry about overnight parking charges or citations, or dirty SF taxis or even dirtier MUNI.


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