A movement for transit justice has gotten rolling in San Francisco.
Travel can be an important part of every young person’s upbringing, especially in a city as culturally rich San Francisco. Unfortunately, it is getting increasingly difficult for young people to get around—to school, after school programs, jobs, volunteer activities, museums, and parks. Thousands of youth, parents, drivers, bike riders and community members have joined together to demand that young people be able to use Muni for free to get to and from school, work, parks and museums.
San Francisco is not seen as a family-friendly city. Each year, more and more families with children move away. The cost of Muni’s Youth FastPass has more than doubled in the last two years. The San Francisco Unified School District will be cutting yellow school bus service every year for the next three years, beginning this year. Young people who cannot afford the rising cost and who have no choice but to sneak onto the bus are at risk of getting a $100 fine by Muni’s Proof of Payment program. The economic crisis is only making things worse, especially for African American, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, and other low-income youth in this city. We are building a broad base of support for this proposal. The Youth Commission has already voted unanimously to support free FastPasses for youth. Now, we have to win support from the MTA, the School Board, the Board of Supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee.
Free FastPasses will benefit everyone in the city, in particular low-income families who scrape money together every month to pay rent and put food on the table. We cannot afford for our next generation to not go to school.
Recently, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution urging the different partners in the city to work on the proposal together. At the MTA Board meeting on October 18, the Board and SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin heard the community speak. At the end, they all agreed the imminent need of free youth Fast Passes, while some still raising budgetary concerns. They have concluded that the SFMTA shall direct staff persons to investigate the feasibility of the proposals, and Director Reiskin promised to report back, earliest by the end of the year.