Emily Lee of the Chinese Progressive Association, a community group, said officers intimidated passengers, who were often left confused by the saturation efforts.“A lot of Muni riders from the Chinese community did not understand what they were being asked because the officers weren’t multilingual,” Lee said. “They didn’t know why they we’re getting tickets or why the officers were stopping vehicles in the first place.”
To address those concerns, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, elected to halt the program in May so its officers could undergo cultural-sensitivity training. Muni’s regular fare enforcement procedures, which did not involve police officers, remained.On Monday, SFMTA Executive Director Nathaniel Ford told The Examiner that the saturation program would resume later this week, although the efforts would “be scaled back and more effective.” Instead of deploying teams of eight to 10 inspectors and four police officers, the program will feature about half the manpower for each stop. The saturation shifts will be shortened from two to three hours a day to 90 minutes.
July 27 to March 19: Duration of initial program 130: Saturation operations staged during that period 9,348: Citations issued during that period $75: Cost of fare evasion citation 9.5%: Fare evasion rates before saturation program was enforced 3.5%: Fare evasion rates during saturation program $19 million: Annual revenue SFMTA loses to fare evaders
Along with resuming the program, Ford said the SFMTA would start a new fare evasion study to determine the effectiveness of the saturation efforts. The transit agency credited the program with dropping the fare evasion rate from 9.5 percent of passengers to 3.5 percent.
To address those concerns, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, elected to halt the program in May so its officers could undergo cultural-sensitivity training.