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Facing future budget shortfall, SFMTA considers raising some fees and fines

The San Francisco Metro Transit Agency is considering a new proposal that would raise some of its fees and fines as it faces a projected $13 million hole in its budget in 2026. 

For now, the city keeps its buses running and Muni lines moving along thanks to a $309 million infusion of cash from the state last year. But that money will run out in the next two years. 

So, to keep transit running at current levels, the agency is considering a four-part proposal:

  • Raising residential parking permit fees by $45
  • Hiking illegal parking fines by 5%
  • Reinstating taxi fees suspended during the pandemic
  • Ending the current 50 cent discount for using a clipper card on Muni

The new proposal is, essentially, the SFMTA’s fallback plan after last year’s proposal to extend parking meter hours across the city met with fierce resistance. 

If the agency isn’t able to raise the funding, Director of Transit Julie Kirschbaum warned that cuts will have to be made. 

“We are still working through those with our board, but it would be looking at reducing some services,” Kirschbaum said. 

But if those cuts do come to pass, she added that it would not be as drastic as a proposal last year to cut or modify 20 bus lines. That proposal was made before state and regional funding kicked in.  

Some residents say they don’t mind rising prices, if it saves current bus and light rail service levels.

“I would prefer to take those systems than drive in the city on most days just because it’s more convenient,” said San Francisco resident Chris, who declined to give a last name. “So it would be a shame to see those less available.”

But not everyone NBC Bay Area spoke with had the same opinion. One of those people is Melissa Castillo, who coordinates parking permits for teachers at a school in the Mission District. 

“I think it’s a terrible idea,” Castillo said. “I know currently we are dealing with a shortage, but we’re still working families that still need to work in San Francisco.” 

City resident Jose Castillo said he’ll often avoid parking in the city because it’s already pricy — especially if you get a ticket. 

“Usually I go to get my groceries in San Mateo County,” he said. “It’s always better, more bigger spaces to park.” 

The current proposal will be presented in a meeting on Tuesday. If it’s adopted and approved, some of the changes could take effect as early as this summer.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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