SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Nearly 20,000 San Franciscans under the age of 18 have applied for free Muni passes to be issued by the end of the month.

After a two-year long grassroots effort backed by hundreds of San Francisco teenagers and the community organization POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights), the program for low-income youth has been approved and kicks off March 1st.

Jaron Browne with POWER said with the demise of school bus programs, many youth who have been relying on Muni could not afford to ride.

“Families that are at 100 percent of the area median income or below can all access the program for free and we expect about 40,000 young people who are going to benefit from the program,” Browne said.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said nearly half that number, more than 18,000 minors have already applied for the Clipper cards that will allow free access at all times on all lines.

“One of the things about public transit is that it connects people to resources, you know we have this beautiful city with the Golden Gate Bridge and beautiful oceans and museums, but if you don’t have access to transit, you’re kind of stuck in the place that you live in,” Browne said.

The 16-month pilot program costs $1.6 million to fund. Browne hopes it will be expanded to include all San Francisco youth.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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