Those of us who ride Muni and who have used public transit in other cities know that San Franciscans are getting a bargain. If you go to New York or to Washington D.C., you learn that other large cities charge higher fares and don’t always offer bargains like free transfers. Yet many people turned out to protest the proposed higher fares that Muni requested to balance its budget. There are other increases in the proposed budget including parking fees for meters and garages. Almost everyone in the city will be hit by one or another of these changes, but it’s time to recognize that we’ve been having an easy ride for years and we have a responsibility to pay our way. Monthly Muni passes will still be a bargain after a $5 increase, and the senior Muni pass is a giveaway. Not all seniors are poor, especially with more and more people in the 65-70 age group continuing to hold jobs. Surely a fifty percent discount for senior tickets would be enough. For those who truly can’t afford that, free tickets should be available to seniors and others who qualify for food stamps or other social services. We need a better Muni, not a hard-pressed one that doesn’t have money for repairs and upkeep. It’s good for the city, good for the environment and good for all of us.
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