Guest Editorial: Free Muni for Youth

by Luis Barahona on April 3, 2012

Tomorrow, the MTA Board has a chance to make relatively small investment (less than 1% of their budget) that will have a clear and substantive impact on children, youth and families in San Francisco. By voting to use a package of MUNI, County Transportation Authority and regional low-income transit mobility and climate action funds to make MUNI Free for All Youth, San Francisco can begin to address the issue of family flight.

Of course, the issue of family flight is larger than the rapidly rising cost youth face trying to get to school (an increase of 110% in the last two years.) But with the planned elimination of yellow school bus service, now is the time for action and show that families have a place in San Francisco’s future. The lack of affordable housing, including for mid-income families, and adequate school funding are displacing many families. But addressing these problems will require significant funding, and political will that involves local, regional, state and federal policy change.

Today, the MTA Board can deliver a concrete improvement in for all families in San Francisco, provide access to everything the city has to offer (after school programs, jobs, arts & cultural opportunities) and make an important investment in creating the next generation of transit riders. In a self-proclaimed “transit first” city where only 40% of the trips are on public transit, we need a shift in how young people of all backgrounds and income levels view public transit. Instead of viewing public transit as a last resort or something they need to struggle to pay for, youth need to see public transit as an affordable first choice option to the high financial and environmental costs driving. Today, by voting in favor of leveraging funds to provide Free MUNI for All Youth, the MTA board can change the way young people view, think about and use public transit – tomorrow and in the future.

What: MTA Commission Hearing on MTA Budget
When: Today Tuesday, April 3rd at 1pm
Where: City Hall Room 400
Why: Let MTA know to make Free Muni For All Youth!

Coalition to Make MUNI Free for Youth

Luis Barahona is a Community Organizer at the Jamestown Community Center.

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