San Francisco Launches Free MUNI Program for Youth
Beginning March 1, San Franciscans may see more young people on MUNI. it’s the first day of a new pilot program giving free MUNI passes to low- and moderate-income students.
Youth 17 and under whose families are making less than the Bay Area median income are eligible for a Clipper Card that works 24 hours a day on all MUNI vehicles. At least 20,000 have already enrolled.
Balboa High senior Paolo Acosta was one of hundreds of students who spent two years lobbying the Municipal Transportation Agency and Metropolitan Transportation Commission to lay out more than $6 million for the free MUNI program.
“Just coming back over and over and over and over and over," said Acosta. "The more and more networking and marketing we did about this campaign, we actually tired out the MTA and got them to approve it.” .
“We always believed that this effort was not just about satisfying the economic needs of these students, but it was about how we as a city look at transportation." said San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, who worked alongside the students to make the program a reality.
"We are investing in the future generation of riders, and San Francisco is leading the way.”
Campos said other Bay Area cities will be watching closely to see if the program results in higher ridership, increased school attendance, and other benefits to the community.
Students are being encouraged to use their Clipper Cards, so accurate ridership data can be calculated. At the end of the 16-month pilot period, those numbers will help the Metropolitan Transportation Commission decide whether to continue funding the program, and possibly make it permanent.