MTA Board members are expected to vote on a proposal Wednesday that would make it easier for thousands of city schoolchildren to get to and from school on subways and buses.
The proposed resolution would expand access to 3-trip, full-fare student MetroCards for those students who currently only have half-fare MetroCards, eliminating the cumbersome half-fare MetroCard program in the process.
“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 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.”
“This is a social justice and equity issue for students who are forced to pay to go to public school,” said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein. “I commend the MTA for working towards a solution to provide more equity in transportation for New York’s students.”
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 can both increase dwell time and be challenging to collect. Currently, there are approximately 27,000 daily bus trips using the half-fare cards.
Under the proposed resolution, half-fare MetroCard recipients would be given the same 3-trip, full-fare MetroCards that hundreds of thousands of other students already receive. Those students are given three free rides each day and can be used on buses and subways. The proposed change is expected to cost the MTA approximately $200,000.