In a news release from the Office of the Mayor Friday, Breed announced the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will offer free roundtrip transportation for people traveling to and from their COVID-19 vaccine appointments starting this coming Tuesday.
It's working — or, rather, mass vaccination against the novel coronavirus is proving effective (as both history and science have predicted). Cases in Los Angeles, a hotspot for the pandemic, have seen large dips as some semblance of herd immunity is being reached. This, too, is true for other corners of the country where social distancing practices are enforced and vaccine rollouts aren't experiencing hiccups.
Vaccines need to be easily accessible to all our residents.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) February 19, 2021
So starting next Tuesday (2/23), all rides to or from a vaccination appointment on @SFMTA_Muni will be free.
Just have your vaccine card or your appointment confirmation with you.https://t.co/LujkG34Gv1
But pinging a rideshare or driving yourself to and from your vaccination site remains a privilege; the unemployment rate in San Francisco still sits high, now around 7%. In an effort to make it accessible and affordable for people to travel to and from their vaccination sites, SFMTA is offering free transport for those getting their COVID-19 vaccines.
“Thanks to the SFMTA, we’re making roundtrip travel to vaccination appointments free and further reducing the barriers that might keep someone from getting vaccinated," says Breed in the statement, previously mention that SF has created a network of COVID-19 vaccination sites capable of vaccinating at least 10,000 people a day. "The easier we make it for people to get vaccinated, the quicker we can put an end to this pandemic and get on the road to recovery.”
This program sits as an example part of the City’s efforts to make it as convenient as possible for people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine; all of the SF's mass vaccination sites offer drive-thru and walk-thru appointments to get vaccination; Zuckerberg San Francisco General currently doesn't require a prior booking to get a COVID-19 vaccine — you can just "drop-in," should you qualify to receive one.
Starting February 23, anyone traveling to receive their vaccine will be able to ride Muni to and from their appointment for free, regardless of which site they go to. (Per the release, this includes the City’s "high-volume vaccination sites, neighborhood vaccine access sites, Department of Public Health clinics, pharmacies offering vaccinations." And those trips are even covered by traveling to vaccination sites outside of San Francisco proper.)
Having your Muni fees waived to and from your vaccine site couldn’t be easier. Those traveling to their vaccine appointment just need to show their appointment confirmation or vaccine card as “proof of payment"; appointment confirmations made electronically — i.e. showing an email or photo confirming your appointment — will also be accepted.
“Getting San Franciscans vaccinated is the City’s highest priority at the moment, and we’re doing our part to support saving lives and saving jobs,” Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA Director of Transportation, continues in the release. “By allowing free Muni access to and from all vaccination sites, we are eliminating transportation and cost barriers from receiving this life-changing vaccine.”
This includes paratransit rides as well.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) February 19, 2021
Also SFMTA is adding $60 worth of service for Essential Trip Card participants. This is a discount program to help seniors and people with disabilities make essential trips in taxis during the pandemic.
SFMTA is set to also increase the amount of service available to Essential Trip Card (ETC) participants by $60; those enrolled in the program will receive an email and/or phone call with instructions on how to load the additional credit to their card.
For more information on the current roster of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as locations to receive one (should you qualify) in San Francisco, visit sf.gov/get-vaccinated-against-covid-19.
Image: A passenger wears a protective mask while waiting for a San Francisco MUNI bus during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on April 06, 2020 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced that they are cutting service to a majority of their 89 bus lines in the City of San Francisco as ridership plummets due to the coronavirus shelter in place. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)