The MTA has recently changed the student MetroCard policy by offering all students full fare MetroCards. Prior to this change full fare MetroCards were only eligible for students who live more than 1.5 miles from school. Students who had half fare MetroCards were required to carry $1.35 in exact change with them and were only able to take the bus.
“[The former MetroCard policy] affected me greatly,” senior Jessica Shin said. “I felt that it was unfair that people who lived closer to their school had half fare while people who lived further had full fare. I didn’t understand that.”
The Department of Pupil Transportation was aware of the issue students were facing.
“We heard that the half fare MetroCard was very difficult to manage,” Senior Adviser to the Chancellor on Transportation Kevin Moran said. “Students had to carry exact change; $1.35 in the form of six coins for a one way trip to school, and double this amount for a return trip after school. As part of our ongoing partnership with the MTA, we met with them about this and they were very receptive to this matter. The policy changed in July 2019.”
Some students feel that this change will relieve unnecessary stress when commuting to school on a daily basis.
“When students don’t have access to full-fare MetroCards, they are unable to travel without worry,” junior Brandon Yam said. “I was one of them.”
Principal Dr. Marmor supports this policy because he believes in public education and free transportation to all students that attend school. He also believes the time that students are able to use their MetroCards should be extended in order to satisfy the time for students who stay late for after school activities.
“I think that the time extension will be really important, especially for kids who are staying late for sports or clubs,” Dr. Marmor said.
The one aspect Dr. Marmor still sees a need for improvement is weekend school activity transportation. This is especially important in a school like Francis Lewis High School, where we have many activities such as JROTC, sports teams, and clubs. The issue with changing weekend MetroCards is that there isn’t a way to make sure that students are using it for the right purpose.
“There is an awfully large amount of activities that occur on Saturdays and if it’s ever possible for school related activities, I would love to see kids being able to use their MetroCards,” Dr. Marmor said. “We do provide two trip MetroCards but it is very hard to manage giving out these single trip MetroCards. It would be easier for the school and better for the kids if they would include Saturday school activities.”
Efforts to improve the quality of transportation for students is ongoing, according to Moran.
“We are always considering new ideas when it comes to transportation for NYC students and families. If you have ideas, we’d like to hear them,” Moran added.