New Fed Program to Provide Discounts to Students who Commute to College

New Fed Program to Provide Discounts to Students who Commute to College

PHOTO:  Many of St. John’s University students travel by bus and train every day to its Utopia Parkway campus. Photo Courtesy of St. John’s University


U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) this week announced new legislation that proposes to fund a national college student discounted transit fare program, which would help alleviate the financial burden of commuting to and from college or grad school using public transportation.

Schumer noted that every day tens of thousands of city college students commute to schools throughout the five boroughs. The cost of the students’ unlimited 30-day MetroCard adds up to more than $1,300 each year. Schumer said that his University Transit Rider Innovation Program will help provide discounted bus and train fares for college and grad students which will make commuting to and from school more affordable and help ease roadway congestion by providing an incentive to use mass transit.

Additionally, Schumer said UTRIP will provide the financial support needed for transit agencies to off-set the additional costs of providing discounted student fares. The legislation works, New York’s senior senator indicated, by offering additional federal funding to any transit agency that offers college students a discount of at least 25 percent.

This kind of plan is an all-around win, Schumer posited, because it will save college students money, reduce their commuting costs, increase mass transit ridership, ease congestion, decrease cumulative pollution and provide additional federal support to struggling transit agencies.

“When it comes to the cost of commuting back and forth to college, quite frankly, our New York City students feel like they’re being taken for a ride,” Schumer said. “Unlike other services—even restaurants—that offer college students a well-deserved discount, transit agencies almost never have a program in place that gives college students a bit of a break. The point of this legislation is to give college students some relief – because so many are working so hard to pay tuition and are also taking on large amounts of debt to get by – while at the same time working to ensure cash-strapped transit agencies like the MTA don’t have to shoulder the burden. Over time, a plan like this will lower other costs, too. Whether it’s the wear and tear on our bridges or the costs of beating back pollution – helping our next generation become transit riders is a critical national issue with limitless benefits.”

It should be noted that the overwhelming majority of colleges in Queens are “commuter schools”—institutions of higher learning that do not offer on-campus housing.


By Forum Staff


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