How to Ride Muni for Free

A simple wave of the hand is all it takes to slip through the gates.

By Matt Baume
|  Monday, Sep 20, 2010  |  Updated 12:45 PM PDT
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How to Ride Muni for Free

soupstance via Flickr

A crowded muni car on the K line at Church.

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Muni riders may have noticed some brand new faregates at some downtown subway stations. They're sleek, they're modern, and they're free?

The new gates have an idiosyncratic design flaw that makes it easy to get through without paying. Just wave you hand over the sensor on the inside of the gate, and voila! It opens right up. Of course, you could slip through the handicapped exit just as easily.

Replacing the new gates was necessary due to age. The turnstiles have been around for so long, and have so many moving parts, that repairs had become prohibitively expensive.

Freeloaders beware, however: Muni knows that you know that they know that you know about this delightful exploit. They've stationed fare inspectors around the fare gates to catch evaders and issue $75 tickets.

But inspectors can't catch everyone, particularly at night. In some stations, there isn't even an agent in the ticket booth after a certain time, which makes evasion easier than ever.

Muni claims that it's known about the glitchy design in the 30-million-dollar system for a while now, and that they don't plan on changing the design. That's great news for the daring and poor.

But is it worth it? Even if you manage to slip through for free, you'll still have to wait for ever for a train.

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