Brooklyn kids are fighting to keep their MetroCards.
Brooklyn Technical High School students are organizing efforts to stop the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) from phasing out a program offering free MetroCards to public school students. The MTA reportedly needs $214 million to continue funding the program.
While the MTA says the cuts are necessary due to the recession, Brooklyn students say they can’t afford to pay for buses and trains to get to school. An unlimited 30-day MetroCard now costs $89.
“Taking away the student MetroCard would be a huge loss for the middle-class and lower-income students. Some people won’t be able to send their kids to school, which will be a hindrance to the American dream,” said Jiaxi Wu, a student at Brooklyn Tech, located at 29 Ft. Greene Place.
Classmate Joshua Beckhusen agrees, “The supplementary charges of MetroCards for students would deprive them of freedom.”
According to city Department of Education figures, 417,243 students citywide receive full-fare MetroCards and 167,912 receive half-fare MetroCards.
The future of student MetroCards will be decided in the coming months when the governor, state Senate and state Assembly begin budget negotiations.
Assemblymember William Colton (D-Bensonhurst) recently met with a group of Brooklyn Tech students. He believes it’s unconscionable to force families to pay for transportation. After all, just like city and state agencies, Brooklyn families are struggling financially.
“Eliminating student MetroCards sends a terrible message to our young people,” Colton said.
He congratulated the students for striving “to make government understand that education must be our top priority and that we must not sacrifice our investment in the future by placing obstacles to a quality education.”
—with Stephen Witt