Free Muni Rides for Low-Income Youth Starting Next Year

Photo by Tony Chang

Low-income youth can ride Muni for free starting next March, thanks to a 16-month pilot program that the SFMTA board just approved yesterday.

According to a CBS Local report, the board voted to expend $1.6 million to provide free Muni rides for youth who apply for the program and are eligible.

The funding comes from a $6.7 million Transit Performance Initiative grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission that also puts $5.1 million into a light-rail vehicle rehabilitation program.

Transportation director Ed Reiskin said the “lion’s share” of the grant goes to service improvement, but “enables us to serve both” service needs and youth riders.

The plan has met lots of controversy over where the SFMTA should spend its funding. From the San Francisco Examiner:

“The issue of funding the plan has been divisive, since the Transportation Agency could use all $6.7 million to shore up its aging vehicles and infrastructure. Muni’s on-time performance has hit record lows in recent months, due in large part to faulty vehicles and operator shortages.

“I think funding the free Muni plan is a completely misplaced priority,” Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said “I’m thoroughly disappointed with Ed Reiskin and the SFMTA board.”

The monthly youth pass costs $22.


  • Lots of kids ride for free now by simply not paying the fare. (For an example, just get on the J when school lets out at Mission High School.) It’s solution to make politicians look good. Also, what about low-income seniors who have no other option for transportation? Kids can alternatively walk or ride a bike.

  • Jesse James via Facebook

    Lame. Muni isn’t a school bus. THERE! I SAID IT!

  • Glennz R via Facebook

    This is a horrible idea.

  • French Twist via Facebook

    They already ride free. This comes at the same time as SFMTA’s decision to charge parking on Sunday effective January 2013. Take from someone’s pocket to give to another. Both ideas are stupid, IMO. Oh, yeah, and what about the seniors? They’re getting a fare increase, too. Why?!!

  • Amarylis Rising Phoenix via Facebook

    It should be the other way around: Kids can walk, ride their bikes or even get driven to where they need to go. Seniors have a hard time getting by in this expensive city as it is without having to deal with a fare increase.

  • Let’s be honest: this program was designed to benefit David Campos and pretty much no one else. All children ride Muni at a 40% discount already, and the system is desperate for every nickel. Giving all of this cash to maintaining the system and preventing clusterf*cks like Monday’s evening commute would benefit *everyone* who rides, not just one supervisor’s political base.

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