Public transportation is actually helping the environment and the price effectiveness of public transportation literally dictates how the environment will end up. Let’s face it, if public transportation costs too much, folks wont take it, they’ll buy cars.
We have a lot of youth who live in public housing, who’ve grown up in public housing, and who have used the transportation system. They utilize these services. It’s all about public transportation while you’re in high school and even in college, commuting. You’re not rich at 21 or 20 or 19, so you’re going to need housing and transit.
With the Muni fare increase proposal, we organized youth to go to City Hall in preparation to protest the board meeting for the MTA. After that, we found out that the proposed fare increases got shut down, six to one. So, it’s important that we organize youth around these issues because our voice does matter. Many people don’t see how environmental justice relates to housing and transportation. Many low-income individuals don’t even know about the green jobs industries. That’s why I’ve built up a passion for it.
My mom didn’t have a car for a couple of years. When she didn’t have a car we’d catch buses. It was tough—seeing her take me places on the bus and getting home late, not having the luxury of a car. The cars she got were old. We didn’t have a lot of money. So, I grew up most of my life on MUNI. My mom just recently got a new car. I’ve lived through those fare increases, where it was 34¢, then it went up to 50¢, and then 75¢. Now, I’m just thankful to have had the experience of driving and taking public transportation. If I would have grown up driving a car, I would have looked down at the public transportation system, like, “That’s for poor people.” I can actually appreciate the public transportation system. I think San Francisco and the Bay Area are blessed to have these systems.
De’Anthony Jones is on the Youth Commission representing the Fillmore Western Addition neighborhood.