Proposed Senate bill offers discounted MetroCards

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The wallets of college students may become fatter because of a bill introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

The University Transit Rider Innovation Program offers a 25 percent discount to college students across the nation. This includes MetroCards for CUNY students.

“The point of this legislation is to give college students some relief, because so many are working so hard to pay tuition and are also taking on large amounts of debt to get by, while at the same time working to ensure cash-strapped transit agencies like the MTA don’t have to shoulder the burden,” Schumer said.

The bill is only a proposal and Congress is expected to deal with federal funding for transit fare next month.

While there are programs in universities to give MetroCards with limited rides, it is not enough for students. Plus, unions, grade schools and some jobs already provide students discounted MetroCards if they commute.

A 30-day MetroCard costs $116.50, which is over $1,300 per year. If the proposal is approved, a monthly MetroCard falls to nearly $90.

“As one of the many students who take the bus to and from school daily, I spend a lot of money on MetroCards each year. It’s fair and I’ll gladly take saving 25 percent. It would be great for me and others,” Joe Sirianni, a senior, said.

Additional federal funding is offered to transit agencies that provide discounts to college students.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which spends nearly $11 billion to operate, does not profit from MetroCards despite the millions of New York City residents using subways and buses every day.

Stefani Greenstein, a junior, felt the reduction was not enough for students.

“I didn’t find out transportation wasn’t included at CUNY until my first day at Queens College. I think all CUNY students deserve free transportation. Reducing the fee by 25 percent is not enough to help cover college costs and still leaves a spending of at least four dollars a day,” Greenstein said.

However, Greenstein noted more efforts are needed to alleviate costs, like tuition and textbooks, on students.

“It’s a start, but isn’t enough,” Greenstein said.

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