Support SF BayView
Donate or Subscribe to SF Bay View
Follow Us Twitter Facebook

Parents to Supervisor Wiener: Our families are an appropriate use of transit funds

November 25, 2012

by Jaron Browne, POWER

Dozens of parents and youth advocates testified before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Government Audits and Oversight Committee supporting Municipal Transportation Agency Director Ed Reiskin’s proposal to apply recently awarded regional funds to implement the free Muni for youth pilot program. The families were responding to a resolution introduced by Supervisor Scott Wiener urging the MTA to use the funds only on maintenance and not on the youth pass.

POWER youth leader Che’Graftanay Mims campaigns for Free Muni for Youth.
“Supervisor Weiner is creating a false choice between the youth pass program and the health of the system as a whole,” said Angelina Yu with the Chinatown Community Development Center. “We are not only winning funds for the youth pass program, we are bringing in resources to improve the system as a whole.”

Last month the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) unanimously supported a new proposal to fund San Francisco’s pilot program providing low-income youth free transit passes through the Transit Performance Initiative (TPI). The initiative includes a $6.7 million allocation for San Francisco and specifically encourages local transit operators to fund youth and low-income pass programs. Securing these funds completes the funding needed by San Francisco for the pilot program.

MTA Director Ed Reiskin is recommending using a portion of the Transit Performance Initiative Funds to launch the free Muni for low-income youth program this February and the rest of the fund towards Muni maintenance needs. The MTA board will vote on this proposal Dec. 4.

The issues of youth access to public transportation became increasingly urgent to families in San Francisco when the price of Muni’s Youth Fast Pass rose 120 percent since 2009, and the School District is cutting yellow school bus service in half.

Over the last two years, youth, parents and community members have organized to secure free transit passes for youth to get to and from school, work, volunteer opportunities and recreational activities. The Free Muni for Youth Coalition secured over $4.9 million in funding and formal support from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the Board of Education, SF Mayor Edwin Lee and the MTA board for a pilot program for Free Muni for Low-Income Youth.

“Supervisor Wiener is out of touch right now with the needs and experiences of the majority of people who ride the bus in San Francisco,” said Gloria Esteva, parent leader with POWER. “He says he is a transit advocate but he is fighting against the core issue being raised by the thousands of families and youth who ride Muni every day, which is the urgent transit need of our children and youth.”

The issues of youth access to public transportation became increasingly urgent to families in San Francisco when the price of Muni’s Youth Fast Pass rose 120 percent since 2009, and the School District is cutting yellow school bus service in half.

“Youth access to public transit has been a constant challenge for the last two years,” said Paul Monge-Rodriguez. “We need the MTA to move quickly to launch this pilot program at the start of the New Year. It’s time to meet the needs of our San Francisco families.”

San Francisco Supervisors David Campos, John Avalos, Eric Mar, Malia Cohen, Christina Olague, David Chiu and Jane Kim have all been strong supporters of the Free Muni for Youth Pilot Program.

Organizations backing the proposal include People Organizing to Win Employment Rights (POWER), the Chinatown Community Development Center, the San Francisco Youth Commission, Urban Habitat, Jamestown Community Center, the Chinese Progressive Association, Jobs with Justice, Senior Action Network, SRO Families Collaborative, the San Francisco Organizing Project, the Filipino Community Center, Causa Justa::Just Cause and Mujeres Unidas y Activas.

Jaron Browne, lead organizer for POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights), can be reached at jaron@peopleorganized.org or (415) 864-8372.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

BayView Classifieds - ads, opportunities, announcements
San Francisco Comcast