controller against Muni's posted income from fare-evasion fees, we figured earlier this year that the fare evasion program was costing MTA around six times what it took in (When Supervisor David Chiu began grilling Muni officials about this, the numbers came out even worse).
Muni spokesman Judson True pointed out -- rightly -- that the purpose
of a fare-inspection program isn't to ding riders with fines but
encourage folks to pay for tickets. Still, he could not provide statistics indicating this is what Muni's fare inspector program is doing.
The report advises freezing the hiring of fare inspectors until the program can be better designed; ominously there is no clear notion of what the program's goal is -- meaning it's impossible to tell if you're "succeeding" (a hallmark of disorganized government. It happens a lot here).
We'll reiterate the same questions we had back in January: Other cities have public transportation. Other cities have fare inspectors. What do they do? How do they define "success"? How do they track whether fare inspections result in more folks paying for tickets? Is there an algorithm that can be employed to figure how much you should spend on fare inspection before it fails to be cost-beneficial?
We may be on a peninsula here in San Francisco, but we're not on an island.
Photo | Jim Herd