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MTA bigwigs may cut free passes for students to ride subway and busses


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BY Pete Donohue

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

 

Saturday, December 12th 2009, 4:00 AM

 

 

 

The cash-squeezed MTA is considering eliminating free MetroCards for the hundreds of thousands of students who use the passes to get to school, the Daily News has learned.

 

Under a possible budget-saving measure, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would charge students half-price fares next year - and full fares starting in 2011, sources told The News.

 

About 550,000 schoolkids get free or discounted bus and subway passes under a program the state and city once fully funded.

 

Albany and City Hall slashed student travel funding in the mid-1990s to a combined $90 million a year. Despite rising costs, the state and city contribution has stayed the same since 1995.

 

That's left the MTA to pay the balance - at least $70 million a year, the most recent available figures show.

 

City Controller William Thompson - whose office found the MTA shelled out that much in the 2005-06 school year - has joined transit advocates to repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, urge the city and state to pay the full cost of student MetroCards.

 

The proposal to end free student MetroCards is bound to draw howls of protest from parents, especially those struggling to make ends meet or with more than one child in school.

 

Eligibility depends on age and how far students live from school, not income.

 

Despite expected pressure from parents and educators, it's unclear if any agency can step in and solve the MTA's significant budget problems. The state and city are struggling with similar woes.

 

Mayor Bloomberg warned Friday that less-than-expected state funds for mass transit may balloon the MTA's budget gap to approximately $500 million.

 

"The state has just got to understand, they have to come up with money to help this organization," Bloomberg said on WOR's "Rambling with Gambling" radio show.

 

Last night, a member of the Bloomberg administration said City Hall is upset about the student MetroCard proposal and blamed state government officials for cutting transit funding.

 

"We're extremely concerned about this and have serious problems," the City Hall staffer said. "We very angry with the MTA and furious with Albany for creating a situation where this option is a possibility."

 

Gov. Paterson, asked in general about MTA funding Friday in Albany, said the state has no more money to provide.

 

"We had to cut the budgets of all agencies and entities and still wind up ... short of our goal," Paterson said. "New York is running out of money."

 

The News reported Friday that the MTA is expected next week to put back on track a sweeping package of budget cuts. It includes eliminating 21 local bus routes with relatively low ridership or some other transit option nearby.

 

In recent weeks, Paterson and the Legislature slashed MTA funds by $143 million. The MTA can't expect those funds to be restored next year, doubling the fiscal blow, Bloomberg said. Meanwhile, payroll tax revenues dedicated for mass transit have come in about $200 million below the state's forecast. With Glenn Blain

 

pdonohue@nydailynews.com

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I think this is a good move......I drive R.I. and the kids ride to it for free and then after 9 p.m. the card don't work and they still ride for free......kids over use this.....when it says ride limit I will make the kid pay full fare just like everybody else....this is meant to go to school and go home.......not ride all afternoon and hang out......

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(T)his is wrong ,(V)ery wrong not every kid has money to spend like that .

How could they do this to these school kids ,(W)hatch now more kids won't make it everyday to school (D)ue to this and the Hard working Parents will suffer another burden in these hard (E)conomic Times:tdown:(K)<R>:tup:(MTA)

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(T)his is wrong ,(V)ery wrong not every kid has money to spend like that .

How could they do this to these school kids ,(W)hatch now more kids won't make it everyday to school (D)ue to this and the Hard working Parents will suffer another burden in these hard (E)conomic Times:tdown:(K)<R>:tup:(MTA)

 

Knight....you are wrong on this one........when is the last time you drove a bus with a bunch of free loading school kids?? they disrespect the elderly......curse and scream......if you say the hard working parents......guess what buddy?? I work 6 days a week to make ends meet......the parents should get a second job.......this along with welfare......should be stopped.......me and the hard working tax payer is tired of having to pay for everybody else.......when you bring kids up with "free" bus rides they will expect free the rest of thier life.....the time to change and set goals is when they are young.......B)

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Knight....you are wrong on this one........when is the last time you drove a bus with a bunch of free loading school kids?? they disrespect the elderly......curse and scream......if you say the hard working parents......guess what buddy?? I work 6 days a week to make ends meet......the parents should get a second job.......this along with welfare......should be stopped.......me and the hard working tax payer is tired of having to pay for everybody else.......when you bring kids up with "free" bus rides they will expect free the rest of thier life.....the time to change and set goals is when they are young.......B)

 

I disagree with you buddy, You work 6 days fine. You think some parents can just do that? sometimes you get some ******* kids on your bus but you cannot stop everyone else from getting on the bus or train for free just to go to school. whats stopping welfare going to do? cause more violent crimes because people have no money. I went to school with "free bus rides" I never felt everything else in life has to be free for me?

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you think its that easy?

 

 

As O said this is the time for change....change the way we think......and I never said it would be easy......but maybe instead of smoking a 10$ a pack cigarettes or drinking a 9$ 6 pack of beer would help pay for the kids ride to and from school.......it is so funny people say they can't afford this and that.....but when it comes to items like I just mentioned .....they always have money.....

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......when is the last time you drove a bus with a bunch of free loading school kids?? they disrespect the elderly......curse and scream......

 

Don't you just want to stomp them into the ground? B)

 

 

____________________________________________________________________

 

Shoot, if they DO cancel these things, it doesn't make a difference to me. They don't even pay my full fare, so I'm stuck paying for weekly unlimiteds. For the other kids, it may suck.

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This is horrible,I depend on my Student Metrocard when I go to school,this will defidently affect me,I cant afford a metrocard everyday to go to school,I may only be able to go to school like 2 to 3 times a week because of this! :mad:

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imo, eliminating student MetroCards is only good for elementary and middle schools (the pink or orange colored ones). you probably would not want kids younger than 12 to ride the subway or bus alone. parents usually take them to school by either mass transit or car (remember, you can pay for up to 4 people with one fare on a pay-per-ride MetroCard), so it would be near pointless to let youngsters ride something they do not even use a lot for free. however, a lot of high school and private middle school students use the subway and buses to get/from school, so the cards allowing half-off free rides for them (the green ones) should be kept.

 

If the (MTA) is that desperate, they should only eliminate free cards, not half-off ones. they can make the student cards work like senior citizen cards (the school gives its students empty cards at the start of the school year and the kids would need to use a vending machine to fill them up each time they have to use it). speaking of senior citizens, i think it is actually better to eliminate the senior discount than the student one since students use the subway/buses more often than seniors. honestly, i do not believe people in wheelchairs, canes, or walkers should not use mass transit because it is just not safe. they should use Access-A-Ride instead even though it costs more. maybe nursing homes and centers should pay for that instead.

 

Another thing i should point out is that many students have gotten away with using their cards to ride for free on weekdays in which they are off from school (Thanksgiving, Christmas, President's Day). one time, a girl used her card during spring break on a bus i was on and the driver did not say anything about it (cops have asked me for my school ID when i used my card many kids to make sure i really was a student and not borrowing someone else's card). that really shocked me because kids jumping the fare by illegally using their student cards is costing the (MTA) lots of money as well. Turnstiles need to be reprogrammed so that they cannot accept student cards on holidays or when kids are off (and the (MTA) should know these days since the Department of Education announces them beforehand).

 

The student discounts should be kept, but the limitations on it really need to be enforced.

 

The only problem with that is, you have schools with schedules that don't follow the public school one like Catholic schools. If you disable the turnstiles on days when the public schools have off it's going to create havoc for those who still have school.

 

i seriously do not understand why private school students get the cards as well. those schools are not free, so i am sure the students can afford paying the tuition for them, they can the extra money for transporation. should they cut off discounts to private schools only? or to public schools only?

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speaking of senior citizens, i think it is actually better to eliminate the senior discount than the student one since students use the subway/buses more often than seniors. honestly, i do not believe people in wheelchairs, canes, or walkers should not use mass transit because it is just not safe. they should use Access-A-Ride instead even though it costs more. maybe nursing homes and centers should pay for that instead.

 

That's saying that the senior citizens don't have any kind of "seniority" that would let them get on at reduced fares. They should have the discounts over students.

 

Another thing i should point out is that many students have gotten away with using their cards to ride for free on weekdays in which they are off from school (Thanksgiving, Christmas, President's Day). one time, a girl used her card during spring break on a bus i was on and the driver did not say anything about it (cops have asked me for my school ID when i used my card many kids to make sure i really was a student and not borrowing someone else's card). that really shocked me because kids jumping the fare by illegally using their student cards is costing the (MTA) lots of money as well. Turnstiles need to be reprogrammed so that they cannot accept student cards on holidays or when kids are off (and the (MTA) should know these days since the Department of Education announces them beforehand).

 

The student discounts should be kept, but the limitations on it really need to be enforced.

 

Agreed there. Many times during the AM Rush, a lot of students try to beat the fare by going through the rear door, or not paying the other half of the fare if they have a 1/2 fare card. If drivers, and/or the MTA Police enforced the farebeating policy and kept all of them off the bus, then that should keep them from losing money so easily.

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To me, this is a facepalm moment. The MTA should realize that the students aren't going to pay; they're just going to hop the turnstiles and get on in the back of the bus. So if the MTA isn't willing to spend more money on farebeating tactics, they better keep the student Metro Cards.

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To me, this is a facepalm moment. The MTA should realize that the students aren't going to pay; they're just going to hop the turnstiles and get on in the back of the bus.

 

Isn't that what they do already? B)

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Yes, but as of now, students don't pay. Therefore, the MTA isn't losing any money. If students beat the fare when they should be paying, the MTA loses money.

 

Yes, true.

 

Eliminate the half fare metrocard. Nobody pays the 2nd 1/2 anyway

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Education should be free. I'm sure many people know about how I was accepted to Bronx Science but declined due to the distance I would have to travel. To this day I regret making that decision. My life would've been so much better had I gone there. Transportation and cost shouldn't stymie a child's educational options.

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Another thing i should point out is that many students have gotten away with using their cards to ride for free on weekdays in which they are off from school (Thanksgiving, Christmas, President's Day). one time, a girl used her card during spring break on a bus i was on and the driver did not say anything about it (cops have asked me for my school ID when i used my card many kids to make sure i really was a student and not borrowing someone else's card). that really shocked me because kids jumping the fare by illegally using their student cards is costing the (MTA) lots of money as well. Turnstiles need to be reprogrammed so that they cannot accept student cards on holidays or when kids are off (and the (MTA) should know these days since the Department of Education announces them beforehand).

 

The student discounts should be kept, but the limitations on it really need to be enforced.

 

The only problem with that is, you have schools with schedules that don't follow the public school one like Catholic schools. If you disable the turnstiles on days when the public schools have off it's going to create havoc for those who still have school.

 

Otherwise I completely agree.

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This is fine by me. However carve out an exemption for people based on "financial hardship" and to do so they have to open their personal books up and show how they need the free pass for their kids, if they can show real need they can get their kids on for free but no BS where rich people use a loop hole to not pay.

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The MTA should realize that the students aren't going to pay; they're just going to hop the turnstiles and get on in the back of the bus. So if the MTA isn't willing to spend more money on farebeating tactics, they better keep the student Metro Cards.

 

1. Let them hope the turnstile. Then they get a $100 ticket and the city gets more money. I think this is a fine idea. Now this would be great if tickets issued by TD officers went to the subway, but never the less it's money in the bank.

 

2. The MTA does not pay for the NYPD officers that patrol the subway, so but eliminating this there is no money lost only gained.

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