munihornylede.jpgAfter Appeal Intern Tatiana Sanchez wrote her post on Muni’s “saturation” inspections, reader Rick wrote in, asking:

“Why is Muni only doing these (saturations) on Metro? I see hella people getting on the back door of my bus every day, why not go after them.”

We took Rick’s question to Muni spokesperson Judson True, who said that Muni has always had the practice of having TFIs (that’s Transitspeak for Transit Fare Inspectors) ride the occasional bus, deterring people from the back door use Rick’s referring to.

However, by the very nature of the Proof of Payment (or POP, who doesn’t love acronyms?) system under which Muni Metro operates, that is, where you can get on using any door and don’t have to show anyone a pass, fare dodging seems to be a more pervasive problem. “On buses there are only two or, in the case of articulated buses, three doors, there are fewer people getting on who might not have paid.” True said. “Compare that to Muni Metro, where there’s no reason for anyone to use the front door, and you can see how fare dodging can be more of an issue on those lines.”

Another reason for the bus saturation diss is that the Light Rail vehicles, with their wider aisles, are just more equipped to handle the rush hour inspections. “Can you imagine a couple of TFIs trying to walk through a crowded bus, checking for payment?” True asked. When asked if citizens could be deputized as emergency TFIs when they witness particularly frustrating bus fare dodging, True just laughed. And then said “no.”

As with many of Muni’s plans, though, True is not ruling anything (anything except the citizen deputization thing, but oh well) out. “TFIs on buses are definitely the next frontier, but we’re not fully there yet.”

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!