Free Muni for kids? SFMTA, supervisors negotiate possible pilot program

A pilot program to offer free Muni service to San Francisco youth under 17 is being considered by SFMTA. The program would issue free Clipper cards for students. Most of the cost would be covered by regional and city sales tax money, but SFMTA would have to cover $1.7 million in lost revenue.

The proposed budget also does not include any additional security cost. As noted in the article, “Campos said what’s still to be determined is whether participants could be kicked out of the program if they misbehave on the city’s buses and trains.” As all commuters know, this is a real issue and SFMTA should not approve any free-rides program without a plan to address it.

Another concern is that the proposal would use Prop K sales tax money from the SF County Transportation Authority, which was approved by the voters to cover capital expenses such as the long-delayed Geary and Van Ness BRT projects.

Free Muni for kids is a nice idea, but SFMTA should take these concerns seriously before approving it.