Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MTA Proposes To Cut Free Student Metro Cards - Help Roosevelt Island Students By Signing Online Petition Urging Restoration

You Tube Video Of NYC Kids Close To Losing Free Metro Cards

The Huffington Post reports:
The cash-strapped agency that runs New York City subways and buses is considering a proposal to end the more than 60-year-old practice of giving free rides for schoolchildren, a move that could cost half a million students nearly $1,000 per year in transportation fees.

The proposal before the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board to end free rides for schoolchildren has parents wondering how to get their children to school...
According to the NY Times:
... The cuts to the student subsidies for the MetroCards are not yet final. The M.T.A. board will have a public comment period over the coming weeks, and then another vote early next year. If the cuts are approved, the 584,000 city students who receive free or half-fare MetroCards would all receive half-fare cards beginning next September. In September 2011, they would pay full fares — nearly $700 for a school year at current rates....
Also, from the NY Times:
... The proposal has been seen by some as a negotiating tactic, and some observers argued that the authority was within its rights to stop financing a program whose costs were once shared by the city and the state; in recent years, those government subsidies have flat-lined or disappeared.

“This is something the city and state should pay,” said Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. “It’s education spending, not transit spending. I think it is a pretty clever way to pressure the city and state to stop hiding their own budget problems in the M.T.A.”...
Governor Patterson is urging the MTA to reconsider cutting out free student Metro Cards. According to NBC New York:
...“If revenues come back in January, more so than we are predicting… if the upturn in the market is significant enough, the first thing I will do with added revenue is target them back to the MTA in order to relieve the young people from losing their MetroCards,” Paterson said during an appearance in the Bronx Tuesday.
“I would urge them [the MTA] in fairness to take another look at their plan and see if there’s another way to work it out. I just think that the last thing we want to do is to charge the children for the MetroCards to go to school,” he said. “But I do understand, not so much the decision making, as much as the difficult circumstances that the MTA is experiencing.”...
Roosevelt Island 360 does an analysis of what doing away with the free student Metro Card might mean for Roosevelt Island families.

A reader forwards us this online petition asking MTA Chairman Jay Walder to restore free student Metro Cards and seeking signatures.
To: Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Jay Walder
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Mr. Walder:

Hard working parents and students should not be punished for the MTA�s poor planning and mismanagement of its budget. The proposal to cut the free and reduced fare Student MetroCard program as a means of balancing the MTA budget is unacceptable and should be taken off the table immediately.

The free-fare student program accounts for less than 2% of the total MTA budget, and the State has not pulled its weight to fund this program as promised. However, eliminating such an important program to close a relatively small gap would be extremely shortsighted and detrimental to New York City�s future. While other jurisdictions rely on a yellow school bus to get their children to school, in New York City the yellow MetroCard is our school bus, which 400,000 students rely on every day to travel to school and participate in after-school activities. Cutting the Student MetroCard program is not the answer to the MTA�s budget shortfall, and we will not stand for its proposed elimination.

The MTA must act responsibly and consider a wide range of budget solutions before placing this financial burden on parents and students. We urge you to withdraw the MTA proposal to cut the free and reduced fare Student MetroCard program.


The Undersigned

So far, there are 5562 signatures.


Anonymous said...

We should not forget in this discussion that it is not just the MTA's fault. Way back when the free student card was introduced, the state, the city, and the MTA shared the cost of it. Over time neither the city nor the state adjusted their share because of the increasing operating costs and that left the MTA with an ever growing share. This year the state cut down its share to almost nothing leaving the MTA with this problem.

I personally think that a student metro card does not necessarily need to be free. But it must not cost $89. Like every other transit system in the world how about introducing a reduced fare card for students? Something like $10 or $20 a month should do.

Of course, we on Roosevelt Island are hit harder than others considering that their is no convenient way off the island that does not require to pay an MTA fare.

I already signed the online petition. Everybody should do so, too, but also contact your representatives.

Isaac said...

I feel like when students are getting IPODS, PSP's, expensive sneakers, etc. The parents/students can surely afford an MTA card. I agree that we should maybe do a reduced fare, but they should still have to pay something. If the MTA needs to be more responsible, so should students and parents.

Anonymous said...

It should be need-based. Anything between $0 and full price should be available depending on how much you can afford.