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Senior SF Muni Rider Hit With $100 Fine For 5 Cent Shortage

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A Muni Metro train emerges from the eastern portal of the Sunset Tunnel in San Francisco. (Wikimedia Commons)

A Muni Metro train emerges from the eastern portal of the Sunset Tunnel in San Francisco. (Wikimedia Commons)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – A San Francisco Muni train rider claims he was given a $100 ticket when his Clipper commute card came up five cents short on his 75 cent discounted senior fare.

John Parrish said he climbed aboard a crowded Muni car at Brannan St and Embarcadero St. earlier this year when he was unsuccessful in paying his fare.

“(I) had to reach between people in the car, and tapped my card, and heard it beep, which was my signal that I’d paid the fare,” he said.

Also getting on at his stop were Muni fare inspectors.

“They told me I only had 70 cents on the card and the fare was 75. The card had not taken any of the money. I couldn’t pay the money, and I got a fine for $100,” Parrish recalled. “It’s insane, it’s ‘technocracy’ run amok.”

He has since appealed the case and lost – costing him another $25.

“I do feel for him in that instance,” said Muni’s Kristen Holland, who also said the law is the law. “Customers do need to remember they need to keep track of what’s on their Clipper Card.”

The Muni Frequently Asked Questions section of the Clipper Card Website lists the following information:

If your fare exceeds your available cash balance, you can complete your trip as long as you have at least $0.01 on your card. You will need to add value before you can use your card again. Your new card balance will automatically be reduced by the amount you owe. If your card has no cash on it, or if your Fast Pass® has expired, your Clipper card will be rejected and you will have to pay your fare in cash.

Holland wasn’t aware that ruling was listed on the website.

“I’ll need to check with them because I don’t know why it would say that,” she said. “I haven’t heard that explanation before.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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