SFMTA Board Delays Budget Vote to Refine Free Muni for Youth Proposal

The SFMTA Board of Directors postponed a vote on a two-year budget yesterday in order to refine a proposal to provide free Muni for all youth. The board seemed to favor the rest of the budget, including enforcing parking meters on Sunday afternoons.

Photo: ##http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4057/4629454154_f66969f191.jpg##THE Holy Hand Grenade!/Flickr##

The proposed budget would have included free Muni for low-income youth, but that measure failed after dozens of proponents argued that it should be expanded to include anyone under 17. The SFMTA estimates that doing so would cost about $9 million per year, roughly double the cost of the low-income-only proposal, which the agency has secured regional funds for. The board asked staff to return to the next meeting with a refined proposal that lays out a funding plan for an all-youth program.

Sunday parking metering saw opposition from religious institutions, but on the board the only skepticism came from Leona Bridges, who voiced concerns about car-owning residents who live above businesses with parking meters. SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin pointed out that those spots already aren’t free for residents during business hours the rest of the week.

Sunday metering may also see little opposition from the Board of Supervisors. In an article in the SF Examiner this week, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said that West Portal residents “should be ready for Sunday enforcement.” At a recent SFMTA presentation to the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, members also voiced very little criticism for the proposal.

The budget will be up for approval again at the SFMTA Board’s April 17 meeting. It must be adopted by May 1 before heading to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.

  • Given the strong endorsement by the board of Sunday meters why on earth did the SFMTA staff not move forward with evening meters?? That would pay for transit for those under 17 plus it would greatly help the business areas where there are restaurants and such.

  • I guess Sunday metering was a more palatable first step than Evening metering. Sunday metering was opposed by churchgoers who could be partially pacified. Evening meters hits residents who store their cars in business districts.

    It’s sad because not only would be get the meter revenue, but increased business means sales taxes, payroll taxes, etc…

    For every hater who says they will go to Daly City if they have to pay a parking meter (almost certainly a false economy with gas at $4/gallon) there are several who go to Daly City because there is no parking, period.

  • Concerned Individual

    This is crap. Whoever proposed free Muni for youth is not paying $62 a month and has not spent their 40min+ Muni ride with disrespectful, loud youth riders who already sneak on the bus anyway. Do that everyday and maybe they’ll think twice about it. This pisses me off so much, because this does not benefit anyone who has been loyal to Muni for years and all we’ve gotten is slowly increased bus fare. 

  • Anonymous

    I feel your pain. As a public transit user who is also extremely frustrated by how public transit fares keep going up and service cut while motorists haven’t had their “fare” — the gas tax — increase in decades and certainly haven’t seen their service cut (roads have only gotten bigger and more numerous), I too am frustrated by how our society places its priorities (i.e., car-centric). But anything that helps low-income people, especially to help them ride public transit, is usually a good thing. The low-income get screwed by our society whose very essence seems to be inequality, and the rich never ride public transit and always drive.

    And in terms of disrespectful people on Muni, is there really any correlation between age? I see a ton of jerks who are youths on Muni, but also a ton of adults who are jerks. I’m not sure it’s fair to single out youth as being more “jerkish” than any other age.

    All that being said, I do think this whole proposal for youth being free is not a great idea. Only because I don’t think that many more youths will take Muni as a result, and I think that the amount of money they are spending (losing from revenue) on this program would be more effective at helping everyone, including low-income youth, by improving service. I think many more people would take Muni if it was more frequent, quicker, and more reliable. That is the real goal would be should be working towards. Anything else is just a distraction.

  •   disrespectful, loud youth riders who already sneak on the bus anyway

    well – this would solve the “sneak on the bus” problem, wouldn’t it?


This Week: Support a Transit-First SFMTA Budget

Tomorrow the SFMTA may approve measures including Sunday afternoon metering and free Muni for low-income youth, when its two-year budget proposal goes before the Board of Directors. The public is invited to comment — don’t miss the last chance to speak in support of a strong transit-first budget. Other highlights this week: CPMC’s plans for […]