San Francisco Free Fare Proposal

In his May 2007 trip to San Francisco, George Haikalis of The Institute for Rational Mobility (IRUM) met with Ms Sonali Bose, who is the Chief Financial Officer for the San Francisco MTA, to discuss their free transit study. Ms. Bose initiated the study shortly after she arrived at SFMTA, coming from a career in financial management at other public authorities. She wanted an in-house study because the agency was under pressure from other regional transit agencies to consider a $150 million capital expenditure for a new contactless fare collection system. At SFMTA fares cover about 23% of operating cost. All capital cost comes from other non-farebox sources. San Francisco's Mayor has since brought more attention to the proposal. The lead for the study has shifted to the Controller's office in city/county government, although Ms. Bose is still in charge of technical aspects. The study has also changed from an in-house study to a consultant study. The consultant selected was Sharon Greene and associates. To read the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the study, click here.

Ms. Bose mentioned that she is participating in a Bay Area-wide transit pricing study, and she heads the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) task force overseeing this effort. MTC is the equivalent of NYMTC in NY, but covers the entire metropolitain area. The Los Angeles area is undertaking a similar study.

In another west coast development, Berkeley's Sustainability Plan calls for free bus passes for all residents, phased in over a number of years.

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