Students and parents planned a protest this morning outside Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s subway station over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s threat to take away free student MetroCards.
The protesters wanted to ask him if he would commit to saving the student MetroCards, which are set to be eliminated by the MTA in an effort to close its $800 million deficit.
There was no sign of the mayor at the station this morning; however, members of his security detail appeared and then left.
While Bloomberg said he supports the program, the city can no longer afford to help pay $214 million for it. The money provides 600,000 students with free MetroCards to get to and from school every day.
Historically, the city, state and MTA have shared the cost.
Without these free rides, families would have to pay $1,000 a year per child to get them to school.
“It’s so important to keep it because if you take away student MetroCards, the students are going to be taking another chop to our education,” said one young protester. “They’re already closing down schools and not building new ones. There are already limited resources.”
“My parents lost their jobs. I don’t see them half the time because they’re always doing job searches. It’s been crazy,” said another. “We can’t pay $1,000 for each person, and there’s a lot of people in my family.”
“It would be very difficult on my family,” said a third. “I come from a low-income family. Another $1,000 burden would be a lot of stress for my parents. I don’t think we could make it for me to go to school anymore.”
Protesters say they plan to show up at the station again tomorrow and Thursday.
Only the State Senate has committed to providing to $65 million to help save the program.