Funding urged to support free Muni passes for youths 

click to enlarge Supervisor David Campos' proposal would urge local transit agencies, school district and community groups to pay for Muni passes for youths.
  • Supervisor David Campos' proposal would urge local transit agencies, school district and community groups to pay for Muni passes for youths.

More than 40 percent of San Francisco middle and high school students use Muni to get to school in the morning, and nearly 60 percent take it home. When the price of a monthly youth pass jumped to $21 this summer — more than double what it was two years ago — young people and their families were not happy.

“I know all my friends use Muni,” said Joyce Zhang, a senior at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. “I think it’s a very important aspect of their lives.”

Zhang is a member of the San Francisco Unified School District’s Student Advisory Council, and she and Lowell senior Karissa Tom represent the council on the school board. They and their fellow council members decided to draft a resolution asking the board to support free Muni passes for anyone under 18.

“It would just make so much impact on youth,” Tom said.

The resolution, which the Board of Education approved unanimously — though with minor alterations — at its monthly meeting Tuesday, echoes a resolution Supervisor David Campos is pushing the Board of Supervisors to pass. Campos’ resolution would urge local transit agencies, the school district and community groups to pay for the passes, which could cost $5.8 million a year.

Though neither Campos’ nor the students’ resolutions would authorize free Muni passes, they are the first step toward setting up funding for a three-year interagency pilot program.

The teens, who represent every high school in The City, used Facebook and Google Docs to collaborate on the resolution. To support their arguments, they researched statistics about Muni use.

The students’ success has them thinking about future resolutions. Next up: bathroom policy.

“You get some teachers who have different rules from other teachers,” Zhang said. “We’ll get to say that we passed a policy so we can finally go to the restroom.”

acrawford@sfexaminer.com

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Amy Crawford

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