Free Muni launches for seniors, disabled

Starting today, low- and moderate-income seniors and people with disabilities can ride public transit free.

Officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said they’ve processed more than 38,000 applications since the SFMTA Board of Directors approved the program as part of its 2014-2015 and 2015-16 budget.

The estimated cost is $6 million, according to the transit agency.

Transit agency officials said they’ve been mailing Clipper Cards to applicants who don’t have one and notifying existing Clipper Card holders accepted into the program. In order to qualify, seniors and disabled riders must have a gross annual income at or below 100 percent the Bay Area median income level.

SFMTA Board Chairman Tom Nolan said in a statement the transit agency also reached out to multilingual residents:

“Approximately 8,000 multilingual applications, sent to 150 community organizations, senior centers and 10 police stations are just a portion of the outreach by SFMTA staff.”

Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement the program aligns with Mayor Ed Lee’s affordability agenda for the City:

“This program is about making public transportation affordable to some of our most vulnerable residents: seniors and people with disabilities.”

Betty Traynor, board president for Senior and Disability Action — an advocate group that pushed for the free rides — said the program is a step towards making San Francisco more affordable for low-income communities. She said in a statement:

“This says that our city values the participation of seniors and people with disabilities in our community.”

Transit agency officials said applications may take up to four weeks to process. Applications received prior to Feb. 13 are completed and have the free Muni pass loaded onto the Clipper Card for use.

The SFMTA offers a similar program for low- and moderate-income youth in the City.

Muni rides who want to apply can submit an application online or call 311 for assistance.