San Francisco group wants free Muni — agency says that would cost at least $190 million 

A group of San Francisco Muni riders will stage a protest today to call for free transit passes for all its passengers.

POWER, a coalition of transit and civil right activist groups that recently helped secure 12,000 free passes for low-income youth passengers, will host the event from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the intersection of Mission and Geneva streets. The coalition, angry about recent increases to youth fares, will be asking passengers in the Outer Mission neighborhood if they think Muni should be free.

Paul Rose, spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, said making public transit free would cost the agency $190 million annually — roughly a quarter of its total budget. The agency would also have to make million dollar capital investments to increase capacity for the expected increase in ridership if Muni was free.

“We can’t just flip the switch and make Muni free,” said Rose.

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