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Filner Wants Students To Ride City Transit For Free

Aired 4/9/12 on KPBS News.

Congressman Bob Filner wants to see San Diego city school students get free city bus and trolley passes.

— Mayoral candidate and Congressman Bob Filner believes San Diego Unified students should be able to ride the bus or trolley to school for free. He joined other candidates in offering some specifics on what he would do to improve city schools as mayor.

A monthly youth pass for San Diego’s buses and trolleys costs 36 dollars. That cost is too high for families struggling to make ends meet, he said.

Some students already get passes paid for by the district, and San Diego High staff raise money to pay for many of their students to get to school. Standing at the City College Trolley stop at 11th and C streets, Filner said he’ll use the office of the mayor to provide passes district wide.

“Parents and the school board and San Diego High have been working on this for years and they have just not had a sympathetic result," he said. "It takes leadership. The mayor should be at MTS, the mayor should be lobbying those board members. I will not take no for an answer.”

Consuelo Manriquez, principal of one of the small schools at the San Diego High complex, said she and her colleague raised about $17,000 in provate donations to fund student bus passes. She said students who can't afford to pay for monthly passes show up late to school or don't come at all, costing schools state funding.

Filner said it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide passes district wide and that as mayor he would work with MTS to make sure issuing free passes to students would not affect the system's operations.

Other urban school districts like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland have programs similar to San Diego’s where they provide transit passes for homeless and other eligible students.

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