This week, speculation arose that government could take another swipe at students due to financial problems the city is facing. But this time it’s middle school and high students who’ve got reason to be concerned.
The paper exclusively revealed that after Sunday’s meeting between Governor Patterson and Albany and City Hall, it’s clear that the capital cannot afford to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s financial deficit. Therefore the agency will be forced to take measures in order to do so itself. This could mean cutting transit routes, laying off an estimated 700 employees, and most outraging to parents and students alike, eliminating the student MetroCard program. This system currently offers free rides to about 550,000 middle and high school students and is particularly relied upon by low-income families.
“Personally, I don’t think I like the idea of diminishing the MetroCards,” Govener Patterson told The Daily News. “They need the MetroCards to go to school.”
New York City high school students took to Facebook to publicly denounce the news. “Take away school metros?,” one student, who requested to be left un-named, posted in a status update Monday night. “You know how many kids are just not going to go to school.”
Formerly, the $160 million dollar program, received $45 million from the city and state, with MTA personally compensating for the rest of the funding. But with the city facing a $6.8 billion deficit, the state has cut back on its funding to the program to a low of $6 million. The MTA can’t afford to provide the rest of the money needed to keep the free metro cards flowing.