Broad Coalition Calls on SFMTA to Provide Free Muni Youth Passes

A free Muni for youth rally drew more than 150 people to the steps of City Hall. Activists said students and working-class families shouldn't have to choose between buying groceries and a Muni pass. Photos by Bryan Goebel.

A broad coalition of community groups, youth leaders, transit advocates and elected officials called on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency today to initiate a three-year pilot program to give young people ages 5 to 17 free Muni passes. The program would cost an estimated $7 million a year and result in a 4.6 percent increase in Muni ridership.

“We believe that transportation is a human right,” said Alicia Garza of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER).  “What we’re seeing is that over the last few years the cost of (public) transportation has increased, and service and access is decreasing. Over the last two years, there’s been more than a 100 percent increase in the cost for Fast Passes for youth.”

“For families that are struggling to survive in San Francisco,” she continued, “that also means an increase in costs when wages are not increasing, when the number of jobs in San Francisco is not increasing, and when resources for public services, including schools, are not increasing. For families with more than one child this translates into an additional burden that’s being placed on working-class families and working-class communities of color in our city.”

Earlier this year, the city adopted a one-time program to give free Muni passes to 12,000 low-income students but supporters said the demand far exceeded the supply. A Muni Youth Pass currently costs $21 and is free for kids under 5. A recent survey showed that 70 percent of students in the San Francisco Unified School District rely on public transit at a time when school bus service has been dramatically cut. The number of low-income students in the district is also high, with an estimated 61 percent taking part in the school lunch program.

"It's one critical step we can take to improve the quality of life for all families in the city, and to support and encourage a new generation of transit riders for our future," said Supervisor David Campos, who added that New York City and Portland have similar programs.
"Back when I was in high school, I used to depend on the 19 bus line to get to school, and I also took the 30 Stockton to volunteer in Chinatown, where most of my friends are," said James Ng, a freshman at SF State who volunteers at the Chinatown Community Development Center. "Over the last two years, the price for bus passes has gone up 110 percent, and that has made it hard for my friends and family to find the money to get bus passes. I know some who aren't buying bus passes because it cost too much."

“Muni has become too expensive and the services that we depend on are becoming out of reach for us financially,” said Leah LaCroix, the chair of the San Francisco Youth Commission. “No matter what school you go to, and what your family’s income level is, or where you live, you should have access to transportation and it should be affordable and you should be able to go from your school to your after-school program to your game and wherever you want to go in the city. Free Muni does this for young people.”

The three-year pilot program, backed by six members of the Board of Supervisors, and SFMTA Board Director Joél Ramos, would be paid for “using a combination of private contributions,” “Muni efficiencies,” and “funds from several different public agencies.” While the pilot is running, those agencies would work to develop a long-term program.

Supervisor David Campos introduced a resolution [pdf] at the Board of Supervisors today calling on his colleagues to support the pilot. Ramos said he planned to get the matter agendized at an SFMTA Board meeting October 18th. He told Streetsblog one option to pay for the program could be extending parking meter hours.

“By actually generating revenues, the 7 million dollars that it might cost per year, we actually reinvest in the overall system and we make it so that parents don’t have to park anymore because their kids were on transit, so they can take transit,” he said. “That works for making parking available for people who really need it. That’s why this is a win-win.”

Paul Rose, a spokesperson for the SFMTA, said the agency is “working with the Budget Analyst to develop a comprehensive report that looks at not only what our revenue impact would be, but at what type of expenditures would be necessary to provide things like: additional vehicles, more graffiti abatement programs, or additional Clipper administrative costs, etc.”

The agency is currently facing a $23 million deficit, and recently scrapped a staff proposal to raise parking fines to help close the gap.

Thea Selby with the San Francisco Transit Riders Union said the pilot and long-term program would also include an education component for young people, and she praised POWER and other organizations working to make free Muni for youth a reality.

“They’re not just interested in giving a pass to youth. They want to train them and turn them into the transit first citizens of the next generation,” she said.

The pilot is being supported by a number of elected officials, including Supervisors Campos, John Avalos, Jane Kim, Malia Cohen, Eric Mar and Ross Mirkarimi. Organizations backing it include the Chinatown Community Development Center, Jamestown Community Center, Filipino Community Center, Public Advocates, POWER, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, the Coalition on Homelessness, Urban Habitat, SF Transit Riders Union, MORE Public Transit Coalition and many others.

“If we believe, as a city, that public transportation is a right and not a privilege, today we take the first step in making that a reality for San Franciscans who need it the most,” said Garza.

Supervisor Jane Kim was the first to sign a petition to support free Muni passes for youth.
"This program, like any other benefit that we would like to see in our community, is not free, after all. It is going to cost money and require resources and we're going to have to work together to find those resources," said SFMTA Director Joél Ramos.
  • Bargain. Other school districts across the US pay for straight school buses, without the leverage of a full transportation network servicing adults.

    Does the $7 Million imply the dollar amount of MUNI passes that will be distributed, or the dollar amount of MUNI passes currently being sold that will now be free. The second number is more relevant. If a student is currently being driven by their parents and now starts riding MUNI, the marginal cost to MUNI is neglible on first glance, and is realistically financially of benefit to the city as the savings from that missing car trip is more than the cost of providing a bus ride.

    If it makes a longtime transit rider who pays for an adult pass later on, the money comes back many fold.

  • Transportation is a human right?

  • mikesonn

    Yeah, I thought it was cheap (i.e. free) and abundant parking.

  • Fran Taylor

    Great idea. Large numbers of the cars on the road each morning are taking kids to school. This will benefit us all, even the childless.

  • icarus12

    Free Muni passes for youth should be given to those in financial need, not to wealthy or middle class students whose parents can well afford to provide them with bus fare. The same is true of school lunches and other worthy programs.  In fact, you can give free MUNI passes to any child who qualifies for the school lunch program, a ubiquitous statistic.

    And to those who would argue that free bus fare will convince a wealthy parent NOT to drive his or her child to school, I say, “Do you really think a youth fastpass ($15/month(?) is what separates that financially stable family from public transit for their kids?”

    Just extend parking meters?  A worthy tactic, but NOT to subsidize families who can well afford to pay their child’s bus fare.  Let’s use extended parking hours for what they should be used for: creating parking turnover, reducing circling, and increasing transit use by all at all hours of the day.  Whatever extra income is generated should go toward extending transit infrastructure.

    Finally, think a little harder about human nature and market forces.  People tend to value what they bother paying for.  There’s a reason I choose to walk up the steep hill to my home, rather than pay $2 for an 8 block climb — it doesn’t seem worth it to me most days.  There are many unintended consequences to giving transit away for free.  The most successful transit systems in the world rarely adopt this strategy.  There’s a reason for that.

  • SteveS

    This is a great point; so many transit decisions are made on the basis of dubious accounting projections.

    If a youth who would not otherwise have bought a pass rides a vehicle which was not already packed to capacity because of the free youth ride policy, the relevant cost of that ride is zero.

  • Anonymous

    The SFCTA study n congestion pricing estimates $60-$80 million per year in revenues …. Which Mayoral candidate supports rolling out congestion pricing? Any of them? If the vehicles tear up our roads, why shouldn’t the users who damage the roads pay for the upkeep.. And for transit improvements, like the free bus passes for students who qualify for the school lunch program?

  • If the fastpass won’t stop the parent from driving, then it costs the MUNI nothing.

    If we means test passing out the fast passes, we spend money to administer the program beyond having the teachers hand out the passes.

    The vast majority of successful school districts transport children for free. There’s a reason for that.

  • How children get to school is a serious issue.  It is estimated that 20-30% of morning congestion in urban areas is due to children being driven in private cars to school. I have no doubt this is true of San Francisco.

    I think the school district should be obliged to provide a free Muni pass to any child who is assigned to a public school more than 1/2 mile from his/her home. (Perhaps the child is given a special 9-month card on a lanyard that he/she can use every day on the bus during the school year.) This may seem like just an accounting issue since whether Muni pays for the pass or the school district pays for it, it all comes from the taxpayer, but I think the accounting is important.

    When the school district assigns children to schools far away from their homes, costs are incurred, (environmental, social and financial) and if the school district doesn’t feel the effect of those costs, they have no incentive to pay attention to them amidst all their other objectives and politics.

    If at all possible, children should walk or bike to school because research shows that this exercise in the morning helps children learn better during the day. (Kids who walk or bike to school have better test scores, even controlling for socio-economics, etc.)  Children should not have to waste two hours each day on Muni getting back and forth to school.  Also, a child’s school should not be so far away that a parent can’t reach it conveniently, because then the parent will be less likely to be involved in school functions, parent/teacher conferences, or active in the life of the school.

    Especially on the elementary level, strong neighborhood schools can help make strong neighborhoods. Better to put the money into the schools and parent involvement than in schlepping the kids across town.  And quite frankly, having volunteered in my local middle school, we are not doing high-poverty kids much favor simply busing them en masse to middle class neighborhood and plopping them down with no attention to their needs. The schools that do seem to really help high-poverty kids succeed are the KIPP schools, and they do their best to locate in the communities that need them.

    I also think the current model of K-5 and separate middle schools is a
    mistake and that children would be better off with neighborhood K-8
    schools.  On a high school level there is more of an argument for creating
    magnet schools that require kids to commute from distances, but kids and the city would be better off with smaller high schools scattered around the city that didn’t require so much of a child’s day being devoted to just getting to and from school and where it wasn’t so easy for a child to get lost in the crowd and overlooked as it is with some of our mega-high schools.

    The cost of a youth Muni pass ($20) is not preventing private school kids from taking the bus so I don’t see much point in further subsidizing the fare of private school children. (Though I certainly wouldn’t raise it any higher.) Youth Clipper Cards especially make the whole fare thing convenient, so if Muni would do more outreach to the private schools (i.e. have the schools validate the birthdates on the applications and send the forms in so the parents don’t have to seek out the very few Muni kiosks that sell them) I think they would be widely adopted. Private school parents worry about safety for their child on Muni, about reliability, and about pleasantness of the experience. If the bus is always crammed with people, the seats are dirty and the floor is sticky with spilled lattes or soda pop, and missed runs mean their child is likely going to be late to school, they are going to be far less likely to make use of it.

    Kids’ time is not free even though we treat it as expendable. We have to remember that time spent commuting on
    a crowded, noisy bus is time not spent on sports, clubs, homework,
    playing, exercise, family dinners, family chores, interacting with siblings, or talking
    with parents. Let’s make Muni pleasant, frequent and reliable so everyone in the city is glad to use it.  Let’s make strong neighborhood schools that children can walk or bike to in safety. I do sincerely believe there is value in both social-economic and racial diversity in our schools, but San Francisco is diverse enough, much of this can be achieved with neighborhood schools.  Relying on transportation to achieve this hurts the environment, creates congestion for everybody, weakens neighborhoods, diverts funds from actual education, and in the end–because the quality of the education plummets–doesn’t create the racial or economic balance and harmony we long for. Our goal should be neighborhoods that are diverse and thriving, and neighborhood schools so good that very few people would rather pay $25-$35K for private than send their kid to the public school down the block for free.

  • David Goodman

    You gotta love an agency that, already $23 million in debt, wants to ensure that even fewer people pay for their Muni ride after they lost $19 million – $19 MILLION – from fare evasion. How about they make sure everyone who’s supposed to pay is actually paying before setting themselves up to lose even more money.

    Not that I’m against kids using the bus, but seriously, a Youth pass currently costs less than a dollar a day, while I’m paying three times as much, 10% of people evade the fare, and I only see a fare inspector once every few months. So who’s gonna pay? Gee, I wonder.

  • mikesonn

    The traffic caused by kids getting chauffeur service from mom/pop is backing up Muni and costing it way more than $19 million. You get even half those cars off the road and you’ll see enough marked increase in speed that it’ll pay for itself.

  • Sprague

    Along with extending parking meter hours, a portion of county vehicle registration fee (increases) could support this.  It is beyond time that auto drivers shoulder more of the expense of their less-polluting, transit riding brethren.

  •  All we need to do is implement congestion pricing for any block facing a school, from 7AM-9AM and 2:30PM-4PM.

  • Andy Chow

    I don’t think just by making Muni free would somehow cause a massive shift from parents dropping off their kids to having them take Muni.

    I know that the cost of a Muni pass is an issue for many families, but I don’t think it is so for many others. However there are other factors making parents choose other types of transportation for their kids. Those include whether there’s a route available, whether the service is reliable, overcrowded, or safe (both accessing the stops and security onboard).

    One way to address those issues is to have special school only trips, which require additional costs. Would it be more cost effective to restore yellow school buses? It might be.

    Another issue of giving passes away without an upfront price is that some people would try to resell them, which leads to abuse.

  • icarus12

    I don’t think cars full of passengers pollute that much more than buses.  I think the issue is congestion, traffic, space — however you want to describe the lack of space on the roads.

    But here’s another thought: Why is SFUSD sending young children all over town against their parents’ will?  This is supposed to be ensuring racial diversity of each school.  It may or may not do that.  It surely achieves two negatives: 1) decreased educational quality overall, and 2) increased pollution and congestion from children traveling across town (by car or bus) to attend schools miles and sometimes an hour or more away by bus.

    To me, the whole debate over free youth passes misses the mark.

  • mikesonn

    icarus12 and Karen both hit it on the head. SFUSD needs to bring back and fully support neighborhood schooling. Shipping kids across town isn’t working for the children, the families, the city and most of the educational system.

  • On the other hand, icarus, there are a lot of parents shipping their children across town intentionally because their neighborhood school sucks. If we think we should allow that, then there are going to be limited slots. And it wouldn’t even matter in Noe Valley, if Alvarado and Rooftop were declared “Noe Valley Only”, ther would not be enough room. So someone is going to get shipped somewhere.

  • Murphstahoe,
    There are far more than just two schools in walking distance to Noe Valley.  Besides Alvarado and Rooftop, there are Fairmont and Mission Education Center in upper Noe Valley, Harvey Milk Academy and Sanchez just down the hill in the Castro, and Edison Charter School on Dolores.  If we went to a K-8 model, then there would also be James Lick Middle School and Everett Middle School. Some of these schools are some of the worst in the state, but all could all be good, even very fine schools. The attendance areas for each of the schools could be shaped to create both diversity and still draw 70% of the children from homes within walking/biking distance to the school.  (I would say if there are going to be 30% bused in from somewhere they should all come from a particular neighborhood so at least the people from out of the immediate neighborhood can feel some sense of community with their neighbors that their children are attending the same school.) 

    Of course there are currently dozens, if not hundreds of barriers to doing this, but what we have now has alienated schools from their communities, children from their neighborhoods and causes social and environmental harm. Under the guise of achieving fairness and parental choice, we have created a system that is grossly unfair to children and gives an illusion of choice among what are often unacceptable alternatives. (And for the most part it is the highly motivated, well-educated parents who can figure out how to work the system so as to get any “choice” at all.) As a result, we’ve created a city with some of the highest private school attendance in the country, where middle class families move to the suburbs as soon as their children reach school age, and where children make up an ever dwindling percent of the total population.

    It is committed parents and strong communities that make good schools. San Francisco has proven in spades that just transporting children to a different neighborhood does not improve their educational outcome.

  • Anonymous

    I would add to this that all these parents shuttling their kids to
    school in their cars is also turning the streets that surround these
    schools into nightmares. I happen to live on one, and it is a
    horrendous sight to see the lack of respect the parents have for the
    people who live in the neighborhood, by honking at every little thing,
    double-parking, yelling, etc. They treat what is otherwise a quiet
    street as their own personal driveway. We have certainly created a
    nightmare situation with the school system in SF, and I think it’s time
    that we handle most, if not all, transportation of kids to school via
    buses, walking, or bicycling. It is nuts how many people are driving
    their kids all over this city wasting gas, causing pollution, and
    trashing our neighborhoods.

  • Anonymous

    In case the neighborhood school trolls missed it, neighborhood segregation is already in force.  This year 99% of slots in popular schools were assigned geographically, either to neighborhood families or to low-scoring census tracts.  “At large” acceptees numbered in the single digits at each school.

    Solving transportation problems by restricting people’s choices is not the solution.

  • icarus12

    An internet troll is someone who is not serious, not engaged with citizen issues.  The people posting here against the shipment of children all over the city are not “trolls”. Most write about transit issues regularly.  Just because you disagree with several persons’ points of view is no justification for classifying them as trolls.  Mind your internet manners, KWillets.

  • mikesonn

    I live on a quite North Beach alley that turns into a race track every school morning because there is a school at the top of street.

  • peternatural

    I think KWillets’ point is that people complaining about students getting “shipped” all over the city are talking about the old system, which is no longer in effect. You can read more about the new system here:

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/education/2011/03/new-selection-san-francisco-schools-place-still-controversial

  • Regards both KWillets and Karen’s point – if (for the sake of discussion I will accept it) 99% of Alvarado’s slots were assigned geographically, then that means there are not enough slots at Alvarado for the designed catchment area. I personally know 2 children who missed out on Alvarado this year. And there aren’t 200 slots…

    I’m not implying anyting other than that there is an extreme issue with child concentration in certain neighborhoods, that formerly did not have such concentration, and this will cause some issues going forward.

    Here’s to trending towards better solutions.

  • The Old system is not so dead and buried.  In the new system, only a portion of the schools take neighborhood proximity into account, and then only as their third criteria of importance. About a third of the schools (32 out of 89)–including all middle schools, charter schools, K-8 schools, and immersion schools–do not take neighborhood into account. Of the schools that do take neighborhood proximity into account, siblings of children already enrolled in a school have first precedence, then children that come from historically low performing test areas who desire to attend. Then, if there are still spaces, children from a school’s attendance area have precedence. And because a third of the schools are not included in the attendance area design, the attendance areas are large (often much of it not in walking distance) and often very oddly shaped. For instance, you could live three blocks from Chavez Elementary (a five minute walk) and still be assigned to Harvey Milk, 1.3 miles away. It is very clear the attendance areas were not set up with an eye to creating local schools in local communities that parents and children can easily walk to.

    An interesting website to see where schools are located and how the attendance districts are parceled is:

    http://sfpublicschools.org/php/explore.php

    One of the more disturbing things I didn’t realize before is that there are no middle schools in the Mission, so except for the relatively few middle school kids that go to Buena Vista or Edison, all these kids have to somehow get to the Castro, Noe Valley or Potrero Hill. This causes congestion, environmental harm, and no plus that I can see on the upside. Of the 529 kids at Everett Middle School in the Castro, 58% are Hispanic, 19% African American, 9% Asian, 3% white. A whopping 74% of the kids are in the free lunch program. 51% are English language learners. By 7th grade, according to statewide tests, only 26% are proficient in English Language Arts (compared to state average of 57%) and a remarkably dismal 17% are proficient in math (compared to the state average of 50%).  (Educator John Holt once said that children would learn math better and faster if it were made illegal. It’s hard to imagine them learning it more poorly or more slowly than what SF Unified does to these kids.)  Just how is making these kids schlep to the Castro instead of going to school in their neighborhood doing anything for their education?

    Now there is talk Everett is on its way to improvement.  I certainly hope so.  And I have sympathy for a parent who would rather drive their kid across town to a school they have some faith in than attend their neighborhood school in which they have none. Certainly just creating neighborhood attendance areas is not enough–there needs to be consistency in administration (Everett has been plagued by constant turnover of principals and other staff,) SF Unified needs to find a way to make each school accountable to the parents (perhaps create a parent board that has input in the hiring and firing of the principal?), and the schools need to heavily focus on meeting the needs of the actual kids that walk through their door. (Do parents want a Spanish immersion program? Are there a chunk of kids who could benefit from an accelerated academic program? Do the kids all need breakfast every day before school starts because they’re not getting it at home?  Are a few disruptive kids making the classrooms impossible? Is rampant absenteeism destroying all learning continuity?)

    I feel strongly that schools need to forge partnerships with parents and get the parents involved, and this is far easier to do if the parents live nearby. Healthy communities have good schools that parents are glad to send their children to. The fact that parents are so desperate to send their child across town is a symptom of a very unhealthy, broken system.

  • peternatural

    Middle schools haven’t yet switched to the new system, but I think that’s coming in the next placement cycle. Each elementary school has a designated middle school (geographically close to the elementary school) that it “feeds” into. I.e., students in that elementary school get automatic admission to their designated middle school if that’s what they want.

    For the other exceptions like language immersion or charter schools, the idea is that the school has special characteristics, not found in most schools, that could be of interest to families from across the city.

    As for geographic proximity being considered 3rd, that’s actually not so bad. First is the sibling rule — if your oldest kid starts kindergarten at an elementary school you like (hopefully you also like the commute ;), then your other kids get automatic admission to the same school (and on into middle school via the feeder system).

    The 2nd priority is for students from under-performing areas. However, they tend not to crowd out neighborhood kids near good schools, because, sadly, the parents in the under-performing areas have a tendency of not even bothering to request any school for their kids (they just drop the ball).

    I have two kids in the public schools now (high school and elementary), and have been through the (old) assignment system several times, and have been very satisfied. My younger kid has a 4-block walk. My older one has a 30 minute walk, or a shorter MUNI ride. (And both kids love their schools.)

  • (I somehow managed to delete my previous post. Sigh. Sorry for any confusion.) The old system is not so dead and buried.  From my count, of the 89 elementary and middle schools, 57 take into account neighborhood, and then only as their third criteria. Siblings fill up slots first, and children from historic low test scores areas get second precedence; if any slots are left over, then neighborhood attendance area comes into play.  (Yes, I understand why it’s preferable to have siblings at the same school, and eventually the sibling problem should wane and neighborhood kids will get to fill up more slots.) The problem is that all middle schools, K-8 schools, charter schools and immersion schools do not take into account neighborhood at all, pulling one third of the schools out of the potential neighborhood map and making all the attendance areas larger and less walkable/bikeable.  If all these schools were K-8, we could have neighborhood schools with small attendance areas that are very walkable/bikeable and each school could also become a strong center for each neighborhood/community.

    As it stands now, the attendance areas are often oddly shaped and clearly not designed with an eye to create local, walkable neighborhood schools. For instance, a child could live three blocks away from Chavez Elementary school (a five minute walk) and still be assigned to Harvey Milk, 1.3 miles away.  For a map of neighborhood attendance areas see:

    http://sfpublicschools.org/php/explore.php

    Looking at this map, one of the things I find disturbing is that there are no middle schools in the Mission so all those kids have to somehow get to Noe Valley, the Castro or Potrero Hill.  This wastes their time, harms the environment, causes congestion, and does them no favors in terms of education.  Among the 7th graders at Everett Middle School, for example, where the kids are 58% Hispanic, 9% Asian, 19% African American and 3% white, test scores show only 26% are proficient in English/Language Arts and a dismal 17% are proficient in math. (State averages:  57%, 50%)  (Educator John Holt once said children would learn math better and more quickly if it were made illegal.  It’s hard to imagine children learning it more poorly or slowly than they manage to do at Everett.)  How exactly is it helping these children to be bused/driven to the Castro rather than attend schools in their neighborhood?  I would argue that a school located close to a child’s home would have a far better chance of involving the parents, the essential ingredient to any child’s academic success. 

    I am certainly sympathetic to a parent’s desire to send their kid across town to a school they have faith in rather than one nearby in which they have none.  And just creating neighborhood schools isn’t enough.  The schools need to have limited administrative turnover (Everett evidently has had severe problems with this), the principal needs to be accountable to the parents (perhaps create a parent board that has input on hiring and firing the principal?) , and the school needs to heavily focus on the needs of the children that actually walk through their door.  (Do the parents want a Spanish Immersion program?  Could a chunk of the kids benefit from accelerated academics? Do the kids all need to eat breakfast in the morning because they didn’t get any at home?  Are a few kids with behavior problems disrupting the classroom for everyone? Is rampant absenteeism creating severe discontinuities in learning?)  This why the KIPP schools are so effective–they focus specifically on the needs of high poverty kids. ( KIPP Bay Academy, similar demographics to Everett, 7th grade test scores:  65% English, 89% Math)

    Neighborhood schools that parents are glad to send their children to is a sign of a healthy community.  Parents desperate to send their children across town to school is a sign of an unhealthy, dysfunctional system that costs us all.  People tend to vote with their feet and their checkbook. At present there are 95,000 school age children in San Francisco, and only 53,033 of them attend a SF Unified school. And again, San Francisco has one of the lowest percentages of children in the entire Bay Area, largely due to people fleeing the public school system here.

  • icarus12

    Peternatural, thanks for the link to the Examiner story.  It was really interesting to read of four different mothers’ research into elementary schools and what they chose as their preferences.

    Despite a lot of different priorities, however, most of the schools chosen were the same.  That kind of belies the SFUSD’s problems, doesn’t it?  A few schools are good.  The rest, not so much.  Families with the means to do so will move or put their children in private schools before they send them poor performance schools.  I hope the district’s changing policies obviate that, but I remain skeptical.

    In any case, if the number of students going to schools within walking/biking distance of their homes increases significantly, that would make this whole bus debate less important.

  • Anonymous

    School assignment is a broad topic, and not necessarily one that should be addressed in this thread, but I stand by my last comment about transportation not being used to justify a system that is already on very sketchy ideological ground. 

    The main issues with school transportation as I see them are enabling people to go to the school of their choice, and ensuring that the groups meant to benefit from choice do so. 

    The current system, created under the Kim-led school board, was designed to entrench neighborhoods with popular schools, while allowing a small number of CTIP1 (low-achieving census tract) residents to choose those schools as well.  Other neighborhoods are redlined.

    The CTIP1 group often lacks the transportation options they need to take advantage of their freedom, and the recent changes don’t do anything to address that. 

  • Andy quit hatin

    if it’s a youth pass and all youth board for free who would by it? 

  • Andy quit hatin

    if it’s a youth pass and all youth board for free who would by it? 

  • Rick Hauptman

    Economic justice is for everyone, especially our kids!

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