SAN FRANCISCO - Muni finalized its budget for the next two years. The transit agency says riders won't see any fare increases, and there will be a renewed focus on cleaning and making the system safer for everyone.
Muni says it's following passengers top priorities, those are improving speed frequency, reliability, and safety.
San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency passed its latest two-year budget and anticipates costs to run between $1.3 and $1.4 billion for the next two years.
Since the agency is receiving an infusion of cash from the federal government to help recover from the pandemic, Muni will not have to increase the cost to ride.
"Thanks to the generosity of the federal government, we've been able to hold fares flat for two years, keep free Muni for all youth, while retaining free Muni for seniors and people with disabilities," said SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin.
Riders say improving reliability and speed are critical to get them to ride regularly.
The agency is pointing to system-wide improvements, including the New Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project as proof they're working hard to make the buses and trains run on time.
"We've been able to get up to a 30% travel time savings and dramatic improvements in reliability," said Tumlin.
Passengers say another major concern is safety.
"I wouldn't say I feel safe on it most of the time, it really just depends on who's on the bus," said Tori, a Muni rider. "Stuff like that."
The agency says the new budget pays for high resolution cameras for all Muni vehicles, and a new gender safety equity initiative. Muni is also bringing on more eyes to watch the system and keep riders safe.
"We're also hiring an additional new 22 transit ambassadors," said Tumlin. "These are community people trained in de-escalation techniques that will be throughout the system."
Riders also say cleanliness is another major concern. "What I see, it's like this: Muni is not safe, and Muni is not clean," said Muni rider Harry Carr Jr.
Muni's director says the agency will keep best practices it learned during the pandemic to keep buses and trains clean.
"We are sustaining a lot of the COVID era and the extra cleaning of our buses," said Tumlin.
The transit agency now has two years to look for a fix for the structural budget deficits that have been covered by this one time COVID recovery infusion of federal funds.
That new budget set to be in place by July 1.