Students forced to pay more to ride MTA express

August 14, 2009 3:37:23 PM PDT
Parents and students in the outer boroughs say it boils down to forking over more money or spending more time sitting on buses and trains It's a choice they say their budgets will decide.

"We're a large family. We have one income. Everything is mapped out exactly pretty much to the penny these days and to be hit with an expense like this out of no where it throws everything up into the air," Dan Trosa said.

Dan Trosa's son, Jonathan, is going into his senior year at Regis High School in Manhattan.

He commutes from the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx to Manhattan using the BXM-9 express bus.

Jonathan's one of about 800 kids in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn who is staring at these new numbers.

Fares went from $2.50 to $5.50.

That means an extra 55-dollars a week and an extra one-thousand dollars a year.

Students such as Jonathan said since their parents can't afford the new fare, they'll have to take a bus which takes about 20 minutes to the number 6 train. So they'll have a much longer day and much longer commute.

"So instead of waking up at 6:20 to catch the 6:40 bus, I'll have to wake up at 6 o'clock, 5:40 or something like that, so I can get down early enough to compensate for the change over," Jonathan Trosa said.

The MTA says it doesn't offer students discounts on express buses since there are other options.

The agency says it inherited student discounts when it took over the private bus lines.

Now leaders are applying MTA policy to these bus routes.

A spokesperson told me it wouldn't be fair for some students to have express bus discounts while others don't.

"These are kids that are very bright, who work hard to get into these schools, and now they're being penalized because the MTA decides, you know, they don't want to honor student half passes anymore," parent Jeff Levine said.

"We're going to deal with it the best we can. We want him to get the best education he can. It's just one more obstacle," Dan Trosa said.

So parents are getting help from their state and local leaders.

Those leaders are nudging MTA officials to reconsider before the start of the school year.