Decision on free Muni still to come 

click to enlarge SFMTA had approved a pilot program to allow low income youths free rides on the public transportation system, but delayed funding has pushed the program back. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • SFMTA had approved a pilot program to allow low income youths free rides on the public transportation system, but delayed funding has pushed the program back.

A decision about how to fund free Muni rides for low-income youths appears imminent later this month after action on the proposal was avoided Wednesday.

In April, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, approved a 22-month pilot program to allow about 40,000 low-income youth passengers to ride Muni for free. The plan was contingent, however, on receiving $5 million in regional funds from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area’s lead transportation planning agency.

In July, an MTC committee delayed a funding recommendation and asked staff to come back with more options. On Wednesday, the same committee was asked to recommend three funding options for free or reduced transit fares for youth residents. A funding recommendation is often pivotal in getting proposals passed by the full MTC board.

However, with only four members of the seven-person committee present, all three options were forwarded without recommendation to the full MTC board meeting later this month. David Campos, a San Francisco supervisor and MTC commissioner who has backed the free Muni youth plan, introduced the proposal to continue all three options without recommendation.

The first two options both would provide Muni with $4 million to pay for a pilot program that could be operational by the upcoming school year. The third option is an $8 million full-time program that would provide discounted fares for youth passengers on all Bay Area transit systems. Several commissioners on the MTC have said they would only support plans that would benefit the entire region.

The full 16-member MTC board is set to hear and potentially vote on the options at its July 25 meeting. If the
$4 million in regional funds is approved for Muni, San Francisco would still have to come up with the remaining $1 million for the project.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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