My posting “Fare or Fair” was sent to me by a reader with a note that said 'this was a part of an effort over ten years ago.' The reader was astonished in looking over it how the problems that were occurring then are still the problems that are occurring now and that he was surprised how one could not decipher without knowing the date that this information was ten years old. To me, interesting.
Am I calling for a fare strike? No.
Would I call for a fare strike? Sure.
Does a fare strike solve anything?
Yes it does.
Is a fare strike timely? Granted we have just been hit with an increased fare strike, another may well be on the way, but that matters not to me. Just because I pay my two dollars every day since July does not urge me onto any platform of acceptance.
I spent the summer abroad in London, Spain, Italy and other drool-inducing countries. I paid much more than equivalent of two dollars for transit nearly every day. But, I got what I paid for. Think of the concept of “priced to sell.” Apple loves this concept. A MacBook costs somewhere in the range of say $1400 and is expected to last with excellent care about four to five years. Apple could very well make a laptop that lasts longer, but it would cost $4000 and no one would buy it. So, we accept in our purchase that balance, that what we are getting is a mediocre product appropriately priced for its service. When I board the underground in Barcelona for five Euro I know it is going to be clean, it will arrive quickly usually under five minutes, it will be right on time, get me to my destination on time and be a safe ride. Muni is dirty, late, slow, inconvenient and dangerous. Point being, given the economics of transit, San Francisco is one area where one does not get what they pay for.
Secondly, I do not believe in fare increases in the same way that I do not believe in sin taxes. Simply, it scrapes the people in the lowest bracket of income. Big tobacco takes a lot of heat for how much profit it makes from selling cigarettes. But, about fifty percent of a pack goes to the government; that is, hello, the government is profiting big off of tobacco. And no one seems to mind either that they profit from Muni - what should and could otherwise be a public service. It is not functional and otherwise crappy to save our system through means of our poorest citizens.
Is fare evasion why we are in this mess? Is it all the little mongrels that I see jump in the back door at Haight and Fillmore every morning? I will give that argument the benefit of the doubt. But, I still say, don’t pay.
Not everyone runs a blog. Not everyone is running for political office. Not everyone has the educational opportunities, the agency, the time, the confidence, the fortitude to write something, organize something, say something or do something. Fare strikes are a uniting means of passive protest. They will not solve the Muni problems, but they are a way of focusing attention where attention ought be focused on an unfair fare.