Students: If you want to keep getting free MetroCards, it might be time to start planning a really big bake sale. Under the proposed "Doomsday" service cuts, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will eliminate free student MetroCards unless it can come up with $214 million, the Daily News reports.
That's the amount the MTA would gain every year if it received full fares from the 550,000 students who currently commute to school for free. Under current plans, the agency would start charging students half-price fares this September and full-price fares the following September — unless the city and state agree to cover the full cost of the program. "It's my aspiration that children in this city should be able to ride free to go to school," said MTA Chairman Jay Walder. "It's up to the state and city to put together a funding package to allow that to happen."
Gov. David Paterson has said he plans to increase funding for student MetroCards in the state's proposed budget, which will be unveiled in two weeks. But it's unclear if Paterson's budget will provide enough funding to maintain the free MetroCard program, despite repeated protests from angry adolescent straphangers.