NEW YORK: State Senator Andrew Gounardes has extended his support for discounted express bus passes for students traveling to and from New York City. For a school student, education should be the focus — not transportation costs, he told MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) in a statement.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority currently does not exempt students traveling to New York City when they take the express bus service, a full fare of $6.75 traveling to and from NYC. Gounardes has sent a letter urging NYCT President Andy Byford and DOE Chancellor Richard Carranza to offer a reduced price for student fares.
Parents think this is very expensive for them irrespective of which school they attend. "For students who commute long distances, discounted express bus passes would make their lives easier and allow them to focus on what's most important: their educations," the Senator said.
Brooklyn mothers Antoinette Rowdis and Antoinetta Cutrona had earlier started a petition regarding the same issue, calling the fare unfair and "way too high". "These high school students travel to NYC for an education," they said. Cutrona said that exemption of fares would specifically help students who travel from Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island to NYC.
Express buses are sometimes the only viable option for these students who travel quite the distance to get to school because of delays, shutdowns, and diversions, the Senator said in a statement. He estimated that they pay around $2,700 each year just to get to and from school.
In May earlier this year, the MTA did provide free MetroCards for students that were traveling for than half a mile from school that covered train and local bus fares. However, this does not cover the express bus fares which connect the boroughs.
Urging the MTA, the Senator said, "We don't want the cost of transportation to get to school to be a barrier for a student attending the school of their choice, or a reason for an hours-long, unreliable commute. The ability to take the express bus at a discount would make a big difference for students who commute long ways and their families."