muni_crash.jpgWho doesn’t love impatiently pacing in the FiDi, waiting for the next bus while someone accosts you to buy their counterfeit Muni transfers? Such a fun brush with crime, save for what it’s costing the SFMTA.

Buying this forged slip of paper that most drivers barely check to begin with has cost Muni thousands a week for years. Now, thanks to a CBS 5 investigation (really!), the streets are without two top counterfeiters.

Art Mio and Marcos Aviles were caught counterfeiting transfers in a residence on the 3100 block of 18th St. Police arrested them and confiscated 287 counterfeit tickets. They estimate that the dollar-a-piece transfers netted Mio and Aviles about $500 a day.

SFPD Lt. Troy Dangerfield describes the scene:

“I mean, all the paraphernalia was there, a single laptop, there was cutting devices so they can cut them properly, there was even computer programs that can help you print things, they had the special paper that was needed.”

Muni’s response to the problem has been quiet and, CBS5 says, not all that effective. They’ve got undercover officers monitoring the issue, and Reginald Mason, head of security for the SFMTA, says that “he has been pushing to get rid of paper transfers and switch to the Clipper Card, but it’s been an uphill battle.”

Oh, and there are fines for knowingly purchasing and using fake transfers: $75 for the first offense, $250 for the second, and $500 for the third. All to potentially save a dollar or two.

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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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  • Akit

    If Muni eliminates transfers, that’ll be a big headache for the agency. The fare inspector force will be useless as people who pay cash don’t get a fare receipt in return, it also means back door boarding is open season as long as they don’t get caught.

  • Akit

    If Muni eliminates transfers, that’ll be a big headache for the agency. The fare inspector force will be useless as people who pay cash don’t get a fare receipt in return, it also means back door boarding is open season as long as they don’t get caught.

  • bbb27

    Muni needs to ensure the Clipper system works correctly before they eliminate the paper transfers unlike the hastily deployed system already in place. During Jan through April 2011 I’ve been over charged more than $20 due to the clocks on Clipper machines being messed up. At least twice the clocks were more than a day off and in other cases the clocks were several hours off. There’s no way I boarded a bus 3am on a Sunday morning or while at a job interview I drove to in Dogpatch.

    Repeated calls, at least 5 or 6, to Clipper to get the charges reversed have left this issue unresolved..

  • bbb27

    Muni needs to ensure the Clipper system works correctly before they eliminate the paper transfers unlike the hastily deployed system already in place. During Jan through April 2011 I’ve been over charged more than $20 due to the clocks on Clipper machines being messed up. At least twice the clocks were more than a day off and in other cases the clocks were several hours off. There’s no way I boarded a bus 3am on a Sunday morning or while at a job interview I drove to in Dogpatch.

    Repeated calls, at least 5 or 6, to Clipper to get the charges reversed have left this issue unresolved..

  • moderniste

    I wonder how long it will take them to catch on to fake swiping your Clipper, and using your phone to play a recorded *BEEP*…

  • moderniste

    I wonder how long it will take them to catch on to fake swiping your Clipper, and using your phone to play a recorded *BEEP*…

  • Mark Ballew

    The driver sees if the payment has gone through on the console, just like with cash fare.

  • Mark Ballew

    The driver sees if the payment has gone through on the console, just like with cash fare.