Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"Free" MUNI Buses and Rail Cars In San Francisco?

At first, I was disgusted when I heard that Mayor Newsom was proposing this. This "free" service will cost the taxpayers of California (which in many ways pay for the policies of this "freestyle" community) with our tax dollars. Taxpayers are already paying 78% of the cost of this bus system.

But then again....although San Fransicko politicos are usually the commiest of commies and the craziest of crazies, here they may have a point. We are ALREADY paying through the nose for their transit system as it is.

Given that transit systems’ farebox recovery rates in most cities are less than 20% (perhaps less than 15%?) as it is, perhaps we should have free mass transit, or at least reduce fares to a nominal "keep the winos and loiterers out" fee. At last we might get more ridership out of them that way. And in effect we are ALREADY almost entirely paying for these systems whether or not we ride them.

Above all, we would end the charade that somehow the farebox is paying for anything substantial at all.

The only exception to this I can think of is the SF cable cars, which are probably raising revenues above their operating costs because of the tourist novelty factor. SF MUNI as a whole, however, is still nearly entirely paid for by we taxpayers as it is, and given state and federal monies going to San Fransicko, that’s true whether or not you live in Sodom City West.

What difference would a free MUNI really make to our taxpaying pocketbooks? Not a noticeable one. I’d rather pay for free MUNI than for in-state tuition for illegal aliens, that’s for sure. Perhaps we could drive a hard bargain with some of these city mayors and county supes.

Let’s all just ADMIT the dirty little secret: that people support (that is, people pay lip service to) mass transit because they think "the other guy will ride it" and have the roads that much less congested for them to drive on.

Of course, if there was sanity, we would get back to building real road improvements, like our massive California gasoline taxes (among the highest in the nation) were intended.

Alas, our gasoline taxes have been raided for useless and impractical and slow "mass transit" rail schemes, built as downtown beautifiers rather than people movers. And that’s in a "good" year, when we are lucky. In other years, our gasoline taxes get raided for debt service or for entitlements and boondoggles unrelated to transportation!

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