muni_generic.jpgFare evaders hopping on Muni with Jefferson Airplane’s “[Come On and Take A] Free Ride” on their minds will soon be forced to change their tune to get a “Ticket to Ride.”

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced in a press release on their website today that they have again started cracking down on people hopping on the Muni Metro system and bus routes without paying.

The crackdown means that there will be four or five additional transit fare inspectors (TFI’s) and one or two police officers deployed in 90-minute shifts throughout the Muni system to keep a lookout for cheaters. People caught without proof of payment on a Muni bus up until this Thursday, August 12 will be issued a brochure reminding them of Muni’s proof-of-payment policy. After the 12th, scofflaws will get a citation of up to $75 which, just FYI, Muni cannot actually force you to pay.

“Muni fare inspection is in place in order to promote fare compliance and for no other reason,” said SFMTA Executive Director and CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. “We’d much rather have our customers pay the $2 fare than issue citations. We believe these efforts will encourage all riders to pay their fare share and help them understand our fare policies.”

Earlier this year, the SFMTA abruptly suspended fare evasion enforcement after discussions with the Immigrant Rights Commission and the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs revealed that the raids often confused and frightened riders, some of whom mistook the fare enforcement raids for immigration raids.

But after reviewing their Transit Fare Inspector (TFI) deployment plan and increasing public awareness of fare evasion through a marketing campaign, the SFMTA feels comfortable that their new efforts will prevail.

“This is a great step in forging a stronger and mutually respectful relationship with the community,” said Immigrant Rights Commission (IRC) Chairman Angus McCarthy.

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