Supervisors at odds on young adult fares 

Young adults eager to find out whether they will be paying less for a monthly Muni Fast Pass will have to wait a little bit longer, as city officials could not agree Thursday on whether to urge that the price be lowered.

A resolution drafted by Supervisor Jake McGoldrick calls for the Municipal Transportation Agency to consider lowering the price of monthly Fast Passes for "transitional young adults" ages 18 to 24.

Currently, ages 17 and under pay $10 for the "youth" Fast Pass — but once the teenagers hit age 18, they must pay the adult fare of $45 per month. The resolution is nonbinding since only Muni can decide if they choose to lower the fare — and if they do, it is estimated to cost an additional $5.7 million a year for an agency that is already facing a projected deficit this fiscal year of $11 million.

After listening to testimony about the issue, the committee’s two present members — Supervisors Ed Jew and McGoldrick — could not agree on approving the resolution to send to the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 22.

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, the third member of the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee, did not attend the special order meeting due to illness.

"This will be a $5.7 million shortfall — I didn’t feel comfortable making a decision because we need more questions answered before we can move forward. I’m a prudent small-business owner," said Jew, who asked that the committee again discuss the issue at the Feb. 22 meeting when Alioto-Pier would be present.

Suggested in place of discounting Fast Passes for ages 18 to 24 was having more universities and colleges participate in the Class Pass program, which the University of San Francisco has been participating in since 2000. The Class Pass at USF tacks on an $18 monthly fee to the entire student body per semester.

Iqra Anjum, chairwoman of the Youth Commission that also helped draft the legislation, testified before the committee that many young adults in the 18-24 age group are struggling financially and need to be supported by The City. Anjum also didn’t think the Class Pass would apply to the entire age group, as many can’t afford college already and are struggling to get by.

"A lot of them are left on their own, they need support. Forty-five dollars is a lot of money," Anjum said.

Judson True, spokesman for the MTA, said the agency’s stance on the Fast Passes is neutral but that the agency will remain committed to working with young people.

After the next committee meeting on Feb. 22 the resolution could be brought before the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 27.

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