SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/BCN) — A program providing free rides on San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency buses, trains and cable cars for all residents 18 years old and younger will begin a day before the San Francisco Unified School District schools reopen for all students in August.

The one-year program — which starts Aug 15 — is expected to provide some 100,000 youth free access on Muni.

“So many of our youth depend on Muni to get around the city, and these fares have a significant impact on their budgets,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “I can’t wait to see Muni buses packed with students eager to return to the classroom this fall. This expansion will make San Francisco more accessible for all of our youth and, hopefully, foster a new generation of Muni riders.”

With the program’s expansion, youth under 19 won’t need to fill out an application for the program and can simply hop aboard a Muni bus without having to tag their clipper card. Fare inspectors won’t request proof of payment for people who are visibly under 19 years old, however, youth above 16 are encouraged to carry their student ID or other form of identification, city officials said.

For cable car service, however, San Francisco youth will need to obtain a pass, which is provided by the SFMTA.

“Lowering the entry barrier to children and youth ensures access for everyone and will develop a generation of public transit riders, while we focus on improving Muni’s reliability and service in the recovery,” said Supervisor Myrna Melgar, an advocate for the program.

The Free Muni for Youth program began in 2013 for moderate- to low-income youth, and previously required an application process.

In April 2020, SFMTA Board of Directors approved expanding Free Muni for Youth beyond disadvantaged youth to all youth, but the COVID-19 pandemic made funding for the program scarce. However, the program’s expansion to all youth, including those 19 and under, was made possible through $2 million allocated to the program by Breed in this year’s budget.

SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin said the program falls in line with Muni’s commitment to equity and boosting the city’s economic recovery.

“By welcoming San Francisco’s youngest residents aboard Muni free of charge, we are fostering the next generation of transit riders,” he said.

For more information about the program, or how to sign up for a Cable Car pass, visit http://www.sfmta.com.

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