SF Muni wants to restructure fines for juveniles who don't give up seats to the elderly and disabled

San Francisco Muni wants to change the fine structure for someone who doesn’t give up their seat for elderly or disabled passengers.

Right now, if you’re under the age of 18, you can face double the fine of an adult who commits the same violation. (it’s not up to Muni to make the change)

More than 120,000 people ride Muni daily. A good portion of the riders, are under 18, although younger people pay less to ride the transit system.

But when it comes to violating Muni’s rules, juveniles pay more. 

"For a youth violation they could be charged anywhere from $300 plus," says Paul Rose SFMTA spokesperson. 

Those violations could be anything from not paying a fare, to not giving up their seat for those who need it. 

Federal law states priority seating must be given to seniors and the disabled. Signs are posted all over the front seats of Muni buses notifying people of the law.  If a person younger than 18 is caught in violation of the law.  They're not only fined, their citation is a criminal offense.

"When we moved forward with administering adult citations for transit, the San Francisco juvenile system asked that we keep it this way," says Rose.  Muni says the fines for both adults and youth start at the same price. But when you add the court cost to the youth citations that's where the cost more than doubles. 

It's been that way since 2008, when SFMTA decriminalized adult violators.  But Tuesday, SFMTA's board voted to decriminalize citations for youth.  In fact, the new fines for those under 18 could be as much as half as the ones for adults for the same infraction. 

Some people we spoke with are happy to hear of the change.

"I think there just shouldn't be a fine, but I guess that would make more sense than it being doubled," says Celia Rosenbloom of Alameda.  

"Anything to not ruin someone's future over something as silly as that. Especially if you're a young kid you're not thinking about fines or that kind of thing being on your record," says Dominic Nicolosi of San Francisco. 

"When we move forward with decriminalizing these citations it allows for a smaller price because you do not have to go through the court system.  So we wanted to make sure there was parity for adults and youth violations," says Rose. 

Before this can go into effect. It’s up to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to approve the MTA's recommendation.