Though a local tech company's grant has helped to fund transit for SF schoolkids, not every low-income student was covered. Now the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is using money from its own coffer to pay to expand its Free Muni For Youth Program and allow even more San Francisco Unified School District attendees to ride for free.
When local tech monolith Google made a recent $6.8 million grant to cover the city's Free Muni for Youth Program, the cash gift was enough to cover two years of free monthly passes for low and moderate income San Francisco students between 5 and 17 years old (18-year-olds will also be allowed to ride free starting in November, 2014).
The Free Muni For Youth Program is described as a "pilot program" that will run until June 30, 2016 by the SFMTA, but folks like Scott Wiener scoff at the idea of a termination date, with the District 8 Supe saying "Although this is technically a 2-year trial program, there's no way Muni will be able to take this back after 2 years. It is very likely to become permanent."
And perhaps Wiener is right, for at an SFMTA board meeting Tuesday, the Examiner reports, the board approved a plan to expand the program further, giving free Muni passes to low and moderate-income students aged 19-22 who are taking classes as part of the SFUSD's Special Education Services Program. (After all, does one expand a program one is planning to end?)
The free passes, which are expected to go to about 200 kids as of November 1, will cost the SFMTA $163,000 per year. Those funds will come out of the transit agency's 2015-16 budget—a "minimal impact on overall revenues," MTA spokesperson Paul Rose told the Ex.
"This is a relatively easy thing we can do to really help people's lives, so we're happy to do it," MTA Board chair Tom Nolan said.