Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/The S.f. ExaminerJoyce Calagos speaks in favor of free Muni passes for seniors and the disabled at a news conference Tuesday. After being shot down in April

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/The S.f. ExaminerJoyce Calagos speaks in favor of free Muni passes for seniors and the disabled at a news conference Tuesday. After being shot down in April

SFMTA chief signals free Muni for seniors ‘very likely’

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is “very likely” to approve free Muni service for seniors and people with disabilities as early as January, SFMTA Transportation Director Ed Reiskin said Tuesday.

The revelation comes on the heels of a news conference called by Seniors for Disability Action and supervisors Eric Mar and Norman Yee to put political pressure on the SFMTA board of directors to approve the program. A similar program is in place for low- and moderate-income youths up to age 18.

“Free Muni is an umbrella on a rainy day,” poet and activist Tony Robles said. “Seniors so often are isolated, and can barely afford to pay rent or get around town.”

Monthly Muni passes are currently $23 for seniors and people with disabilities, discounted from $68 for adult passes.

But activists such as Sam Alicia Duke and Joyce Calagos, both seniors, said living on a fixed income is especially difficult in ever-expensive San Francisco. They count pennies, they said, and even a $23 transportation expense can mean the difference between eating meals or taking a bus to go see a doctor during the month.

“For you, that may be nothing,” Calagos said. “For me, that's a lot.”

The SFMTA's free Muni for youths program was approved in April, following a $6.8 million donation from Google. But at the time, the SFMTA board also rejected free Muni for seniors and people with disabilities, which it estimated to cost $4 million annually.

Simultaneously, the SFMTA lost $11 million in funding as the board slashed Sunday paid parking meters.

Despite the senior program rejection in April, board President Tom Nolan tasked the SFMTA with finding new funding for the effort, which Reiskin said Tuesday has tentatively been done.

With the passage of propositions A and B in the Nov. 4 election, “we're in as good a shape as we can hope to be,” Reiskin told The San Francisco Examiner.

The SFMTA is developing a funding plan for free Muni for seniors and those with disabilities to present to the board in late January, when Reiskin says he believes the board will be “very likely” to approve the free Muni plan.

Bay Area NewsMuniseniors for disability actionSFMTATransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott leaves the scene of an officer-involved shooting at Brannan Street and Jack London Alley in the South Park area on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chief Scott issues rare apology to man shot by SF police

Officer says he ‘did not intend for his firearm to go off’

Despite the pandemic, San Francisco has ended the fiscal year with a budget surplus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Better than expected tax revenues leave city with $157.3M surplus for this year

As the fiscal year nears an end and Mayor London Breed prepares… Continue reading

Passengers board a BART train bound for the San Francisco Airport at Powell Street station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART bumps up service restoration to August 30, offers fare discounts

Rail agency breaks pandemic ridership records, prepares to welcome more passengers

Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa hold a photo of their brother Sean Monterrosa, who was killed by a Vallejo police officer early Tuesday morning, as they are comforted at a memorial rally at the 24th Street Mission BART plaza on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
State Department of Justice to investigate Sean Monterrosa shooting by Vallejo police

Attorney General Rob Bonta steps in after Solano County DA declines case

Gov. Gavin Newsom, show here speaking at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April, faces a recall election due to anger on the right over his handling of the pandemic, among other issues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Why Gavin Newsom’s popularity could work against him in the recall election

Top pollster: ‘We’re not seeing the Democrats engaged in this election. And that may be a problem…’

Most Read