Two San Francisco supervisors joined dozens of community members and San Francisco Municipal Railway employees outside City Hall today to condemn recent fare hikes as well as service cuts that are going into effect Saturday on the Muni system.

Supervisors David Campos and Eric Mar were among several speakers at the noontime rally who called on San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials to reverse the cuts and fee hikes.

Fares for senior, youth and disabled monthly passes increased by $5 on May 1, from $15 to $20. The service changes going into effect Saturday will affect most bus routes and rail lines, reducing frequency on most routes and hours of operations on others.

The service cuts and fare hikes were designed to close a budget deficit that at one point was more than $50 million.

Campos said Muni “hasn’t done all it possibly can to prevent service cuts,” and that “we cannot tell people we want them to ride Muni while cutting the frequency of the buses.”

Campos was one of many speakers who called on Muni officials and San Francisco police to stop what they said were “saturation raids” targeting minorities to enforce the agency’s transfer policy. Speakers said these “raids” target city neighborhoods with large minority populations.

Campos said considering the economic climate and the state of the agency’s finances, “the last thing we want to do is harass riders.”

Beatriz Herrera, a member of the group People Organized to Win Employment Rights, said the combination of these policies “are going to have a significant effect on our community, mainly minorities and working-class families.”

Bob Planthold of the Senior Action Network said the policies were a double whammy for many people he knows since “we can’t afford fare increases and we can’t get on the crowded buses because Muni’s cutting back service.”

Eric Williams, a Muni cable car operator, said that while Muni operators sometimes have disagreements with riders, the real problem was with upper management, urging Muni to “chop from the top.”

Mar, one of the two city supervisors at the events, pledged that the Board of Supervisors will not allow the SFMTA “to balance the budget on the backs of riders and operators within the system.”

The SFMTA approved its two-year budget and the 10 percent service cuts in a 4-3 vote on April 20, but the budget still has to go before the Board of Supervisors for city budget approval by July 31.

Muni officials have said they planned to restore half of the reduced service, or 5 percent, in fiscal year 2012.

Muni Operators and Riders Expanding Public Transit, an alliance of the various groups, is holding a meeting on the service cuts and fare hikes on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Centro Del Pueblo, located at 474 Valencia St.

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  • Jimbo

    So fare enforcement agents are targeting minority neighborhoods? Really? Well then they sure must get lost a lot, seeing as the KLM lines (whose riders are typically, um, “lighter”) seem to be a favorite hangout for fare agents. I’ve got a suggestion for Muni, however… if you’re going to try to enforce fares, then ENFORCE them. Stop the fare-jumpers BEFORE they get through the gate, not after. It would make a lot more sense to watch people entering the gates, rather than while they’re leaving or (even worse) riding.

  • Adam Engelhart

    The place I’ve seen Muni fare inspectors most often is 4th and King (and the clientele there does trend towards the “light,” as Jimbo put it). The place I’ve seen people get on without paying most often is Geary & Leavenworth. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fare inspector at the latter location, nor have I seen one make a bust at the former, although I don’t frequent 4th & King. I’d say “do the math,” but I’m not sure what remains to be done even qualifies as math.

    Sorry, but no matter what the color of your skin is (and I’ve seen folks of all colors get on via the back doors at Geary & Leavenworth), you deserve to get busted if you ride Muni without paying and drive the price up for honest folks. We’re not talking about charity or forbearance here–we’re talking about theft of services from the paying Muni-riding public, who I’m starting to think is sometimes a minority on the 38 lines. End of story.

  • Greg Dewar

    Want an example of how “progressives” hate Muni and want to de-fund it as much as Newsom does? Campos and his ilk show their true intentions here.

    News flash, “Supervisor” Campos – people who steal from Muni are costing US, the owner/riders of Muni money . We wouldn’t have needed the last fare increase if more people were honest and simply paid like the rest of us. Also the SFPD DOES NOT DO MUNI FARE ENFORCEMENT STOP LISTENING TO LIARS like “power” and other assorted activist hippies.

    Campos has just shown why he, like Newsom, has no credibility on muni issues. The fact that as always, he’s out there defending the criminals who steal from the Muni owners (who are of all races, neighborhoods, etc and many of whom can’t afford another fare increase due to fare cheats) shows he’s just as much of a clueless hack as that “mayor” in Room 200.

  • Alex Zepeda

    Newsflash Greg! Fare enforcement costs a lot more money than it brings in. In an ideal situation fare enforcement might be used to scare people into compliance. But with labor costs what they are, and the MTA’s grasp on organization what it is, the odds are stacked heavily against fare enforcement being a profitable adventure.

  • Fred

    Got any evidence for your statements?