SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Since 9/11 San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency has been using federal counter terrorism grants to help catch bus and rail fare cheaters on Muni. But there are questions about whether such use of funds is appropriate.
Since 2012, the agency said they lost more than $19 million due to fare evasion. That number has dropped to around $17 million since the Muni began using all-door boarding.
According the San Francisco Examiner, records show that that the SFMTA used funds from the Department of Homeland Security to fund those officers.
In 2009, the agency received $6.2 million for its Operational Package, or OPACK, funds.
The DHS rules specify that the bulk of the money must be used for ant-terrorism activities, which is the SFMTA claims it did—using the bulk of the money for extra security during for large events such as the Giants World Series celebration. They also purchased high-tech surveillance cameras and drilled for simulated emergencies.
Since more police officers have had a presence on the system, the agency said overall crime has dropped 30 percent. Smartphone had theft dropped 77 percent from May 2013 to May 2014.
But the Examiner reports that when the agency requested the federal money, they didn’t mention that it would be used to cut down on crime.
An SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose told KCBS that Muni doesn’t have a specific fare-cheat program in place and that police officers ride providing security using the federal funds, but they do write citations as part of their patrol.