Free Muni for kids: Tough slog at the MTC

Scott Wiener opposes free Muni for kids

There are plenty of reasons I like the David Campos free Muni for youth plan. Anything that gets the next generation used to seeing Muni as the primary form of transportation in town is a good idea. It's a great benefit for low-income kids (and around SF these days, the only ones who we're giving any benefits to are businesses that get tax breaks, and those breaks are worth far more than the modest cost of the Campos plan). But it's particularly important this year, because the school district is in serious financial straights and is probably going to eliminate most school-bus transportation next year. So poor kids and kids whose parents don't have cars will have a harder time getting to school.

The supervisors approved this, and the mayor signed off on it -- but some of the money is supposed to come from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, made up of regional representatives, and Campos is having a tough battle.

The MTC staff recommended that SF get $4 million in regional transit money for the idea, but not all, or even most, of the 16 members of the panel want to see one city get money for something all of them would love to do.

But: Someone has to try this as a pilot project, and SF, with the highest per-capita transit ridership, is a good place to start.

Sup. Scott Wiener is also on the MTC, representing San Francisco, and he's totally against the free Muni for youth plan. And when it come up at an MTC committee, he was willing to vote for it -- "I realize I lost that battle, and at the MTC I'm representing San Francisco," he said -- but only if MTC stipulated that no additional city money would go to the program.

And that kind of screws the whole thing up, since it will be hard to do with just the $4 million.

Ugh. Such a great idea, for a fraction of the money we're handing out like hot dogs to everyone who asks for a tax break. Why don't the poor kids get a break for once?


Posted by Guest on Jun. 15, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

is that once those users get accustomed to not paying they'll never want to start again once the free rides end. It creates lil' welfare clones - expecting everything for free.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 15, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

Yes, once they are accustomed to not paying, they never want to pay again. Ask those businesses who got out of paying the San Francisco business and payroll tax ten years ago and really, really don’t want to return to paying for the services their own (lower paid) employees use. Like ambulances. Like parks. Like public schools. Like housing that is affordable on the salaries they pay.

Posted by CitiReport on Jun. 15, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

And the corporate bailout recipients who get massive free bailouts from the taxpayers and then want more free bailouts. They don't want to pay.

Bailout Recipients

Or the SF restaurants that add Healthy SF fees to the customer's bill and then keep the money for themselves. They don't want to pay.


End the health-care scam
Businesses charge a health-care surcharge then keep the money for profit.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 15, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

The linkage between creating a new entitlement burden on a transportation system barely getting by, one that is considered the worst in California, and the business and payroll tax is tenuous - to say the least.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 15, 2012 @ 8:58 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 16, 2012 @ 4:58 am

In what parallel universe does increased exposure to the SF Muni system boost someone's desire to keep using it over driving? I mean...are these kids really going to be sitting on the 38 Geary and decide that there is no need to get a driver's license because the bus is so great?

Posted by Troll on Jun. 15, 2012 @ 11:33 pm

Because if you don't ride Muni on a regular basis, you might want to shut your uninformed trap. Most teenagers riding Muni are fine, but there are plenty that are not, and dealing with even more poorly behaved thuglets while commuting to work is not a prospect regular Muni riders relish.

Posted by sfmike on Jun. 16, 2012 @ 8:30 am

dirty buses and unreliable schedule and ponderously slow speeds, but because of the unruly elements on so many routes, most of whom are teenaged.

We should charge these kids more not let them ride buses all day for free just for something to do.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 16, 2012 @ 9:08 am

Many of us ride MUNI all the time and never have any problems.

It's only the people shuttered in their metal contraptions (who never ride MUNI) who have an inherint fear of it.

Posted by Troll the XIV on Jun. 16, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

she's not alone in that at all. It can be really nasty on some of the routes.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2012 @ 10:01 am

SFUSD never provided yellow school bus service to High School students. Yellow bus riders are overwhelmingly children under 10.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 16, 2012 @ 9:39 am

Most paying customers on MUNI want fewer poor kids riding it, not more. Sorry to be so un-pc but that's life.

Posted by emilulz on Jun. 17, 2012 @ 9:39 am

goes to some nice neighborhoods while the only low-rent area it goes through is ChinaTown and Asians typically don't cause a lot of trouble.

But take the 9 or the 14, which go through some of the ghetto parts of the city, and it's a different story.

The streetcars and cablecars are OK too - the problem is mostly limited to certain bus routes, and of course it is those where poorer kids are most likely to ride.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2012 @ 10:03 am

the Twitter bus?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 10:23 pm