Who 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.