Transportation (News)

MTC votes 8-7 not to fund free-Muni plan

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 07/27/2012 - 11:12am
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Aspen Dominguec, center, holds up a sign during the MTC's meeting in Oakland on Wednesday. Photo: Sonja Och, The Chronicle / SF

The much-debated plan to let low-income kids in San Francisco hop aboard Muni for free apparently died Wednesday as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission narrowly voted against giving the plan $4 million in regional transportation funds.
The commission voted 8-7 against a motion to fund the 22-month free Muni plan, give $1 million to a two-year reduced- fare plan for low-income adults in Santa Clara County, and contribute $500,000 to an Alameda County student pass plan with a possible $2.5 million later. The vote split along regional lines with commissioners from San Francisco, the Peninsula and the South Bay favoring the program and East Bay and North Bay representatives opposed.

The MTC vote leaves Muni's $9.4 million plan, which was to start on Aug. 1, $5 million short. Municipal Transportation Agency officials declined to declare the free-fare program dead, but have said repeatedly that they can't afford to contribute any extra money.

Transit Riders for Public Transportation Calls on President Obama to Reject Transportation Bill

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 07/06/2012 - 4:33pm



On the eve of President Obama signing the Federal Surface Transportation Act, the Transit Riders for Public Transportation (TRPT) denounces the new bill and calls on the President to affirm his administration's commitment to environmental justice and transit riders by rejecting this bill. Known as the "highway bill," this legislation threatens public health and the environment in communities of color and systemically blocks transit riders from benefiting from the majority of this federal funding. This new version unfortunately perpetuates the 80/20 split in funding (80% for road infrastructure and 20% for mass transit) and fails to allow transit agencies the flexibility to use those limited dollars to maintain service, despite desperate need. At the same time, this bill blatantly guts the National Environmental Policy Act, which offers the only meaningful opportunity for communities to have a voice in major capital construction projects that will directly impact their lives.

S.F. agency OKs free Muni for low-income kids

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 04/25/2012 - 11:10am
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Low-income youths could soon ride San Francisco's Muni for free, while drivers who park in the city on Sundays might have to pay up.

Those controversial proposals were approved Tuesday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Board of Directors, which unanimously passed the budget for Muni, parking, traffic and taxis over the next two years.

Yet for those programs to become reality, the budget still has to clear several hurdles that include gaining the Board of Supervisors' approval.

Overall, the budget calls for spending $821 million in the new fiscal year that begins July 1, and $840.5 million the following year. That plan is projected to close deficits of $19.6 million and $33.6 million, respectively.

Free Muni for all youths

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 10:56am
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Big yellow school buses are disappearing as the San Francisco Unified School District reduces the number of buses and routes to contend with education budget cuts. As a result, more and more families must shoulder the cost of transporting their children to school. Recent Municipal Transportation Agency board meetings have seen an outpouring of support from political leaders, community organizations and residents testifying in support of free Muni fares for all young people.

Get Onboard: It's Time To Stop Hating The Bus

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 04/05/2012 - 1:43pm
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Everyone loves to hate riding the bus — passengers complain about cleanliness, overcrowding, timeliness and inefficiency. In a piece for Salon.com, writer Will Doig argues that disliking the bus is "practically an American pastime," but buses are key to improving mass transit. Doig thinks that rather than spending money on expensive new systems like light rail or streetcars, cities should focus on making buses better.

"I think when people say that they don't like the bus," he tells NPR's Neal Conan, "what they're really saying is that they like the train better than the bus. And there are a lot of really good reasons for that."

Doig (who admits he took the subway to the studio for this interview) says the appeals of trains — design, reliability, comfort and frequency — could easily be incorporated into bus systems. And some cities are already doing that by aiming to employ bus rapid transit, or BRT.

The biggest and most effective approach is removing the bus from traffic. "If you can give it its own lane that's physically separated from cars so that even people who want to drive in the bus lane are unable to, that's the key, and you'll be zipping through the city in no time," says Doig.

Doig explains why buses have an image problem and the things cities around the world are doing to improve bus transit.

Mayor says youth could see lower Muni cost Read more at the San Francisco Examiner

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 03/16/2012 - 11:49am
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The movement to make Muni free for San Francisco youth is gaining traction.

According to an activist group, proposals to be advanced at an April 3 hearing before the Municipal Transportation Agency’s board will include a reduced monthly pass cost of $5, free Muni for low-income youth and free Muni for all youth.

SF Muni should give students a free ride

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 03/16/2012 - 11:45am
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Letting students ride Muni for free is an appealing idea that City Hall is all but certain to adopt. Eliminating fares makes it easier for kids to get to school, cuts the bills for parents and helps reduce traffic congestion in San Francisco.

But the idea means a fare-box hit of $4 million to $7.9 million for the under-funded transit system facing a $23 million deficit. The money factor is giving the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, which runs Muni, pause while it searches for the right mix of funds and rules for the program.

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