If approved on Wednesday, the proposed change would go into effect in time for the new academic year in September.
By Forum Staff
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board was expected to vote on Wednesday on a proposed resolution that would expand access to three-trip, full-fare student MetroCards for those students who currently only have half-fare MetroCards, eliminating the half-fare MetroCard program in the process.
Under the proposal, half-fare MetroCard recipients would be given the same three-trip, full-fare MetroCards that hundreds of thousands of other students already receive. Those students are given three free rides each day which can be used on buses and subways.
According to the MTA, half-fare student MetroCards are a relatively small subset of MetroCards that allow bus-only access to K-12 students in the city who live at least a half mile from their school. Students using this type of card are supposed to pay $1.35 in coins for each ride with the half-fare card, which the MTA said can both increase “dwell time” and be challenging to collect. Currently, there are approximately 27,000 daily bus trips using the half-fare cards.
“This is a social justice and equity issue for students who are forced to pay to go to public school,” said Assemblyman Harvey Epstein (D-Manhattan).
If approved on Wednesday, the proposed change would go into effect in time for the new academic year in September. The resolution is expected to cost the MTA approximately $200,000, according to the agency.
“This is a common-sense policy that makes it easier for kids to get to school and does away with needless complexities that have existed for too long,” said MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford. “Replacing half-fare cards with full-fare ones saves money for students and saves time for everyone on a bus since the need for coins is eliminated.”