Appeal pal The Tenderloin Geographic Society posted the above photo of a faux-official (should that be fauxficial? Pls advise) sign that says, in three languages:

Throw That Ticket Away
Muni Can’t Make Fare Cheats Pay

Interesting! Contacted by email, the Society gave us some more details:

That puzzling sign was at Church and 14th, taped onto the bus kiosk….it seemed kosher but for that fold in the middle, which means it was not the large-format signage you might usually see–definitely a well-done homemade job.

But, is that prankster’s sentiment correct? We’re glad you asked! After all, in March 2010, staffer Chris Roberts wrote a story for this very site headlined “Throw That Ticket Away; Muni Can’t Make Fare Cheats Pay.” Which is either coincidental or somewhat flattering!

As we reported back then, “those $75 tickets don’t carry any criminal penalties or other ways to ‘incentivize’ folks to mail in their hard-earned money, said James Dougherty, Muni’s safety chief…Unlike with traffic tickets, those who don’t pay don’t end up in court or with an extra fee tacked onto, say, their vehicle registration or anything else.”

Roberts reported in March that “Muni officials openly admit they’d like to get more fare evaders to pay their tickets, but have a hard time when they ‘have read that they can get away with riding for free,’ Dougherty said. ‘We’re trying to take that impression away.'”

Of course, that impression might be a bit harder to remove if these signs crop up all over the place. To be clear, the Appeal doesn’t have a thing to do with them, OK? But if you’re the artist responsible, we’d love to hear from you! I promise, your secret’s safe with us.

The TGS says that they “(h)aven’t seen another one, but I’m keeping a sharp eye out.”

How about you? Have you seen these signs anywhere around town? If so, let us know, OK?

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 eve@sfappeal.com.

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