Saturday, January 13, 2007

MUNI: On-time costs extra

San Francisco CA - In a typical Liberal move, San Francisco is seeing how it can kill off the transit system. Reported on the San Francisco Examiner's web site, the story tells of an effort to make MUNI service more on-time and the costs involved.

A pilot program aimed at one single route that wasn't in too bad of shape has cost MUNI an extra $168,000 for the 3 month test. If run all year, the cost would balloon to around $750,000. The story is a bit misleading in stating that the $750,000 annual cost would be annually for a system wide effort. The $750,000 is for the test if it was run for a year and the test is just 1 route. To do it system-wide, the costs would run a few million dollars a year at minimum.

This test is being done because of a voter approved ballot measure that demanded on-time performance be at least 85% or higher. Then there is Mayor Gavin Newsom who is also demanding the on-time performance improve without raising any fares, cutting any service or any increase in funding to MUNI to fund the additional costs.

While issuing of tickets to motorists who park and block the traffic flow can conceivably help offset the cost of the program, it won't cover all the costs. To run the test program cost $168,000 and they raised $88,000 from tickets. The fine money is dubious to depend on as well as once people become more accustomed to knowing they'll be fined, they'll avoid the tickets and the revenue from the fines will drop.

I'm not defending MUNI's poor on-time performance and while it's laudable to want to increase the on-time performance, a voter ballot measure and political mandates aren't the way to do it. As the MUNI test is clearly showing, it is further hurting the already cash strapped agency and placing the operation that much closer to a major fiscal crisis.

As Jim Quinn, one of my favorite radio show hosts, always states, "Liberalism always generates the exact opposite of its stated intent". This is a great example of what he means. The San Francisco residents are pushing for a government cure for the on-time issue at MUNI and that cure will ultimately increase costs to every taxpayer in San Francisco as well as put MUNI at more risk for a complete shut down of operations. The end result down the road? No more worries about on-time performance since there won't be any service left to be on-time.

The residents that voted for this stupid measure and Mayor Newsom will be crying when MUNI is forced to just shut down operations system wide. They'll point fingers at everyone except themselves for the situation, a situation they pushed for by forcing MUNI to spend more money to fix a problem through government mandates.

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