Muni punts on free rides for kids

Muni may be poised to score major cool points with mothers and their kids. At a Metropolitan Transportation Commission board meeting Tuesday, a plan was floated that would offer free rides to kids ages 5 to 17 — and not just those with low family incomes.

The proposed free rides would be included as a pilot program in Muni’s next two-year budget cycle.

Unfortunately, the plan hasn’t cleared the hurdles yet. Since Muni is faced with major deficits, providing free rides to any segment of the population would cost more money and make balancing the Muni budget still more difficult.

The estimated cost for the program would run about $6.7 million over the next two years, which is no small sum.

To close the gap, parking meter enforcement on Sundays and an extra $5 charge for parking meter violations are being considered. Sunday meter enforcement wouldn’t begin until noon, a nod to local churches who don’t want to see their congregations hit with parking costs — or parking tickets — in the morning.

After hours of arguing, the board could not agree on a solution. So they punted, pushing back a decision until their next meeting in two weeks. That means they’re cutting it close to pass a budget by the May 1 deadline.