Today’s Headlines

  • One Bay Area Grant May Revive Free Muni for Youth Plan (City Insider)
  • How Critical Mass Has Impacted the Bike Movement at 20 Years (SFGateSFExam, KQED)
  • SFBG Tries to Understand All the Animosity Towards the Event
  • Critical Mass Pop-Up “Welcome Center” Opens at 16th and Valencia (Uptown Almanac)
  • Muni Struggles to Prepare for Crowds During Slew of Events Next Weekend (SFGate)
  • Civic Center BART Brake Incident Caused Only $600 in Damage (SFAppeal)
  • New Parklet to Open on Townsend Street Tomorrow (LiveSOMA)
  • Debris from Car Crash Injures Child on Nearby Hayes Valley Playground (KRON)
  • Driver Pleads Guilty in Killing Concord Father, Daughter on Bike Ride (CoCo TimesKTVUKRON)
  • New 12th Street Pedestrian Bridge Completed at Lake Meritt in Oakland (BizTalk, Inside Bay Area)
  • Oakland North Examines the Benefits and Challenges of BART Bike Access Following August Pilot
  • Caltrain Hits Car in San Bruno, Driver Injured (CBS)
  • VTA to Study El Camino Real BRT Alternative Plan Keeping Dedicated Lanes (SPUR)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • voltairesmistress

     Free Muni for youth raises its head, again.

    A better use of discounts or free rides would be a municipal program to provide all workers making less than $40,000 with free BART/Muni/VTA/Caltrain etc. so that they may commute from lower rent areas to jobs in expensive San Francisco, Palo Alto, and the like. Help working people support their families by helping them get to where the jobs are.  How many people live in Oakland, Hayward, Richmond and places with more reasonable rents but work in San Francisco or other towns they can’t afford to rent in? Let’s make one, interconnected Bay Area economy work better for working people.

    That’s a lot more targeted than helping already heavily subsidized children’s fares become free. Why do the latter?  So ten years from now those children will be more “transit friendly” than their parents?  That’s so touch-feely I want to groan.

    It is more pragmatic to subsidize their working parents.  It is also more pragmatic, though not necessarily more just, than trying to build affordable housing on expensive real estate.  San Francisco tries and fails each year to build much of this housing.  Should we pat ourselves on the back for our good intentions when little results?  An additional approach to connecting working people with jobs and housing is needed.  What do you think?

  • Anonymous

    Muni doesn’t go to any of the places that you mentioned… 

  • All that would do is create a black market in free adult MUNI/BART passes.

  • voltairesmistress

    murphstahoe, you are simply wrong on this one.  There are already some large employers in downtown SF who heavily subsidize their employees’ use of transit.  My spouse worked at one where nearly all the administrative assistants used BART and MUNI subsidies of over $100/month or more.  And there was very little cheating, because those workers were, miraculously, coming to work using their employer-provided transit passes!  I am simply suggesting that all employers, including struggling smaller businesses, get help from relatively wealthy municipalities (like SF) to provide transit dollars/passes for working people.  To avoid fraud or overuse, perhaps there should be no special passes, but simply the transfer of a certain number of dollars every month onto an employee’s Clipper Card.

  • Wait a minute…

    “There are already some large employers in downtown SF who heavily subsidize their employees’ use of transit. ”

    Some? Try MOST.

    “Mirkarimi was the chief sponsor of a measure to require most employers to give pre-tax commuter checks to employees, with the intention of getting workers out of commuting via private car and into using public transportation; the measure is unlike many others involving regulation of businesses in that it was not opposed by the Chamber of Commerce”

    If they work in SF, they get a benefit from their employer already, if the business has 20 employees. So aren’t you recommending a redundant program, with the burden shifted from employers and the federal government (who provide the tax break) to local taxpayers?

  • Anonymous

    Also, one thing that people who commute already have are jobs so if anyone can afford transit it’s them (disclaimer, I make under 40,000 so I would qualify for subsidized transit under your program but can still afford transit/biking, though not a car).  

    I think it makes more sense to give free rides to youth since they really shouldn’t be working and should be going to school/activities/volunteer/friends/just ride to the beach or downtown.  Plus I think it’s a positive step towards free transit for everyone which I think would be a societal net benefit.

  • voltairesmistress

     murphstahoe, I did not know about that program – so thanks for cluing me in.  I do wonder, however, why a company qualifies only after having 20 employees.  (???)  And why it is not more widely publicized.   Seems like we should be subsidizing healthy transportation options for all working persons at lower incomes — public transit, walking, bicycling.  If somebody were healthy enough to ride a bike to work, he/she could still keep the transportation money for other uses.  More carrots and fewer sticks, particularly on the working folks, please.  Btw: I love that evolving plan for green, pleasant, signed walking routes throughout the City.  That is so inviting.

  • Voltaire – it’s not a matter of qualification. The law Mirkarimi cooked up *requires* employers with 20 or more employees to offer some sort of benefit. Less than 20 is simply a number Ross threw in to make it simpler to pass the law. Any business can offer transit benefits as part of their compensation package, and they can utilize the pre-tax deduction to comply (if > 20) or because they want to (if <20). The pre-tax deduction is good for companies because it reduces the employees taxable income and thus reduces the FICA match for employers.

    Smaller companies tend not to know about this program – Mirkarimi did the city a service by putting the code into place. I've been putting the max pre-tax contribution into my commuter program for years, a great benefit for users and a good incentive for transit.

  • I believe there’s several other Fed/State/Local items that happen at 20 employees as well, so this is just one more thing to do when you hire #20. 
    (I’d think this would actually make it more convenient than having to consult with a employment law attorney every time you want to hire on one more person. “oh, you’re at 16, now, that’s X, 17 is Y, nothing at 18, Z & Q at 19…”)

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