Skip to main content

Muni Fare Inspectors Are Out in Force After Pandemic Pause

Written by Sarah WrightPublished Nov. 28, 2022 • 11:57am
Muni transit fare inspectors K. Mouton (left) and K. Justin (right) ask for proof of payment from passengers on a 14-Mission bus in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. | Paul Chinn/The SF Chronicle via Getty Images

Don’t forget to tag that Clipper pass when you get on Muni, because fare inspectors are back in action after a pandemic-related hiatus.

Transit riders say they’re seeing fare inspectors more frequently, asking for proof of payment and issuing $100-plus citations for riders who haven’t paid. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency had pulled back on fare enforcement during the pandemic. 

“Now that we’re in a new phase of the pandemic, we’re upping our efforts to ensure riders are paying their fares,” Stephen Chun, an SFMTA spokesperson, confirmed in an email to The Standard. 

In late 2020, the SFMTA said it would stop issuing tickets temporarily to focus on education, customer service and mask distribution. The agency then began phasing fare inspections back in and is now back to issuing citations.

Transit fares make up sizable chunk of SFMTA’s revenue. But with overall ridership about half of what it was before Covid, the agency is facing a serious budget crisis.

“When customers don’t pay their fares, we don’t have the funding that’s needed to keep our buses and trains running,” Chun wrote.

The agency maintains that most riders do pay their fares, even though many don’t tag as they get on because it isn’t necessary for anyone using the MuniMobile app or transferring.

Plus, anyone 18 or under can ride all Muni transit for free, except for cable cars. The agency also offers free fares to some middle- and low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

Questions, comments or concerns about this article may be sent to

San Francisco Lululemon Mass Retail Theft Sees 2 of 9 Suspects Charged

San Francisco Lululemon Mass Retail Theft Sees 2 of 9 Suspects Charged

An aerial view shows the Cordilleras Creek Bridge over Highway 101 in Redwood City.

Highway 101 Closure: SFO Traffic Chaos Expected as Road Closed for 3 Days

Racist, Antisemitic Speech Disrupts San Francisco City Hall Meeting

Racist, Antisemitic Speech Disrupts San Francisco City Hall Meeting

Trains wait on tracks 5 and 6 for passengers at the Caltrain Station in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, July 18, 2019. Business leaders and transportation officials are putting together a sales tax ballot measure for next year that would generate billions for transportation infrastructure in the Bay Area. Top on their wish list is the downtown extension of Caltrain, with a tunnel running from the Mission Bay Area to the Transbay Terminal.

Caltrain Happy Hour: Toast Bay Area Transit at This BYOB Train Event

President Joe Biden delivers remarks Aug.10, 2022, in the East Room of the White House. | Official White House Photo by Erin Scott

Here Are the San Francisco Street Closures, Transit Changes During President Biden’s Visit Today