San Francisco – On Wednesday, San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston and Budget Chair Matt Haney overwhelmingly passed their Free Muni Pilot in a 4-1 vote at the Budget and Appropriations Committee, the final hearing before a vote at the full board of supervisors on Tuesday. With Supervisor Mar joining co-sponsors Chair Haney, Walton, Ronen, and Chan, in support, the proposal has gained significant momentum. Supervisor Safai cast the lone vote in opposition.
“This is a big step forward,” said Supervisor Preston. “We have a unique opportunity to pilot Free Muni, put money in riders’ pockets, bring people back to public transit, and live up to our Transit First mandate. I’m thrilled with the growing support for our Free Muni pilot.”
“Free Muni is a great way to boost ridership on a transit system that has lost a significant amount of passengers for more than a year during the pandemic,” said Supervisor Haney, Chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee. “This three-month pilot will not only reduce barriers to get people into and back on our buses and trains, but it will also put money directly into the pockets of people who need it the most.
“As we recover from the pandemic, we must not forget that San Francisco residents are still struggling and need our help, said Supervisor Walton. “We have the dedicated resources available for Free Muni and this is a fiscally responsible way to increase and restore ridership as our City gets back on track ” an early co-sponsor of the measure.
The vote comes during a time in which traffic congestion on the rise and transit ridership is at historic lows. With the San Francisco economy reopening, expanding Muni ridership and service is essential. Increasingly, cities are looking to free transit as a way to incentivize mass transit over congestion and pollution causing alternatives.
“Free Muni for Youth, which my predecessor David Campos spearheaded in 2014, helped to create a new generation of dedicated transit riders in San Francisco,” said Supervisor Ronen, also an early co-sponsor of the pilot. “For the sake of our planet and our streets, we must get everyone back on Muni, and this pilot is a smart and sensible way to make that happen this summer.”
Photo Credit: “Panning of MUNI Bus“ by Takashi Hososhima is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.