San Francisco may soon start a pilot program of free monthly Muni passes for all city youth ages 5 – 17. The city’s Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) will be considering the idea, perhaps as soon as Tue., March 6.
This program will help make San Francisco a truly Transit First city and help to meet our climate-action goals by reducing automobile trips. It will build a new generation of transit riders who will support transit funding and strategies that support transit in the future. It will also support families of all income levels who want to raise children in San Francisco rather than move to auto-dependent suburbs.
The program will be affordable for the MTA budget because partial funding is being pursued from the school district, the county Transportation Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and various grants.
The program is especially timely since the school district has recently reduced its free bus service, and plans to reduce it further–by almost half–over the next two years. In addition, the cost of Muni’s Youth Fast Pass has increased 110% in recent years, and usage has declined. 21,000 passes were loaded in October 2009 compared to just 10,000 in October 2011; the price rose from $10 to $21 over the same time period.
Rebecca Evans, chair, Sierra Club San Francisco Group