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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

SFMTA Should Reject Spending $1.6 Million for Free Youth Passes in Light of Muni Metro Meltdown

UPDATE: SFMTA Board approved giving free passes to youth, instead of investing money towards keeping Muni running, especially since the meltdown.  Big frown!  Read Tweet from Muni.

Original posting: Yesterday was one of Muni's worst days ever with two major incidents: a passenger being dragged over 500 feet when struck by a F-Market streetcar, and the meltdown of Muni metro.

Muni Metro serves tens of thousands of people every single workday, and a transformer at the Van Ness station practically ended all tunnel service within the city, therefore forcing city buses to take the brunt of transporting riders from West Portal to Embarcadero.  Muni blames the transformer on the weekend's heavy rains for ruining the commute after 6PM, but fortunately service is restored to the light rail system for the morning commute.

Today at 1PM in City Hall, the SFMTA Board of Directors will be having their last meeting of the year, and I'm betting the board and citizens on the microphone will be ranting about the disruption of Muni metro.  Some will put blame on the weather while others will put blame on the neglect and deferred maintenance now punishing the city.

Also on the agenda is the board will be voting on $1.6 million in grant funding from the MTC to provide free Muni youth passes for those who qualify.  The rest of the grant money ($5.1 million) will be going towards a rehabilitation of the light rail vehicles. (View PDF of proposal here)

Other than my views of using taxpayer money to fund free rides for kids (I deeply oppose any free rides for kids), in light of the major Muni metro meltdown last night, I want the SFMTA Board to reject the $1.6 million in funding and change the proposal to spend that money to fixing the critical infrastructure of Muni in order to maintain operational status.

While I know $1.6 million won't solve all our problems, at least fixing certain critical components such as making sure the electrical transformers for Muni metro won't explode is more important because the metro service serves a bigger population, and not just kids who might be eligible for a free pass.  I depend on Muni metro on days when I go to the ballpark, and many of you depend on it to bring you fast service to your workplace in downtown.

What would you spend $1.6 million?  Making sure Muni works for all, or give free passes for kids?

I'd make sure Muni works for all.  And for you kids, be lucky Muni gives the BIGGEST DISCOUNT for youth passengers versus other agencies in the Bay Area.
  • Muni: $2 adult, $0.75 youth (62.5% discount) with free transfer.
  • Samtrans: $2 adult, $1.25 youth (37.5% discount) with no transfer.
  • VTA: $2 adult, $1.75 youth (12.5% discount) with no transfer.
  • AC Transit: $2.10 adult, $1.05 youth (50% discount) with additional $0.25 for one ride transfer.
 I've made my point.  REJECT FREE PASSES FOR KIDS.

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