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Release date: 3/1/11

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors, which oversees all surface transportation, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), today authorized at its regular Board meeting providing the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) with 12,000 free monthly Muni Youth Passes for the last three months of Fiscal Year 2011 (April – June) as part of its joint effort with City partners to foster greater opportunities for low-income SFUSD students.

“As budgets across the City and at home are stretched tighter and tighter, I hope to see more collaboration of this kind between City entities, community groups and the Youth Commission to better serve all members of our community,” said Supervisor David Campos.

“In proposing a lifeline pass for youth, I wanted to make sure that vulnerable students who attend our schools are given every opportunity to succeed,” said Supervisor Mirkarimi. “I am proud of this legislation and am happy to see this real sign of progress.”

“Creating the Youth Lifeline Pass was important to this Board and we are still committed to seeing the program implemented,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “If we can assist the youth of this City and the School District by working with them to provide the passes free of charge this year, then we are pleased to do so.”

“The SFMTA is pleased to assist its City partners in providing a needed service to the SFUSD students,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO. “Public transportation is, at its core, about improving our quality of life and increasing opportunities.”

Beginning with the distribution of the April passes in March, 12,000 passes will be distributed by the SFUSD to low-income SFUSD students free of charge for April, May and June of 2011. This follows the passage last April by the Board of Supervisors of Supervisor Mirkarimi’s resolution to create a youth Lifeline discount Fast Pass and the subsequent creation by the SFMTA Board of Directors of the half-price pass for low-income students to be distributed through the SFUSD for Fiscal Years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.

Although implementation of the program was delayed due to difficulties experienced by the SFUSD with developing and implementing an internal plan to distribute the Youth Lifeline Pass and collect the $10 per pass fee, the SFMTA will continue to work with them and other City partners to move the Youth Lifeline Pass program forward.

Prior to moving forward with distribution of the free passes this year, the SFUSD will provide the SFMTA with a distribution plan for the 12,000 free monthly low-income youth passes. This plan will include criteria used in determining eligibility and methods developed for proper distribution to recipients of the approved application process.

Given that the low-income free pass distribution will only be in effect for the remainder of the current fiscal year, it will cost the Agency $720,000 in decreased revenue instead of the anticipated $1.4 million originally estimated in the SFMTA’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget.

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