Ever since I have been in the New York City of US, I have often rode on the MTA's trains and buses to go from place to place. I used it to go to my high school. I used it to go to temple, to go to any place simply because paying for cabs is not a good option for me or my immigrant family with low income. Just after a few days or weeks after our family's arrival in the NYC, the MTA raised its fare to $2. That was in 2003.
Since then, I began to see the decline in the system of subways and buses that provide basic transportation needs for the city's average commuters. Recently, the MTA authority has increased the fare to $2.25. The main problem which is why I could not simply accept it at first was that they were reducing services on trains, cutting down bus stops and decreasing their workers. All of these were their initiatives aimed at reducing their budget deficit. I have even heard of more trains being cut down in the years ahead. In contrast, they might be charging more in the coming years with the reduced services.
The principal reason why I am writing this is not because I could absorb MTA's increased fares and reduced services, but because their new move for the years ahead. They have been considering to get rid of student metrocards which allows students from K-12 to go to school for free in a bus or train. They are not thinking far as it is likely to be effective by 2011 if passed.
First of all, my question to the MTA is 'if there is a deficit in your budget, would cutting down student metrocards help your cause?' My thinking is NO. The reason is very simple. If there is less transportation services, why would a high school freshman or sophomore wake up at 6 o'clock in the morning to go to school which he hates so much. Some students just go to school to socialize or be with their buddies in the school. For them, it would be a bonus reason for telling daddy why he or she is just hanging out with his or her peeps than spending dad's money to go to school. Would some parents be able to afford everyday cost of metrocards for their kids if they themselves struggle with their transportation cost? Then, the simple option for those kids would be to stay home or hang out in the streets or neighborhoods with their mates. Now for the other kids who would gladly take 9 or 10 periods a day to get more AP credits or something like that, especially in high schools, would lack the enthusiasm of going to school early in the morning because sometimes they originate from poor family backgrounds or they may live quite far from the school and it's a horrible weather outside. This lack of intensity would be spread even more when sometimes their parents might be fed up with spending almost $405 (since there is roughly 180 days in a school year times the cost of up-down metrocards). Not only that, students would be forced to attend a nearby school even if that has a bad reputation just to avoid the cost of metrocards. That way those students who have the potential to attend reputable schools would try to avoid it if it is somewhat far away from their home.
Now, tell me MTA, would these situations improve your cause of reducing the budget deficit of your system or would it force students to avoid schools overall? If you think the first, then, well, I say you better ask some kids around.
Some folks have also suggested that if the mayor of the NYC Mike Bloomberg does something for these kids, then the problem might be solved temporarily. Some argue that as a billionaire, he has the potential to bear the cost of all NYC students metrocard cost. Well, this option would be my last resort if nothing works out at all. Because in that way, the problem would be solved temporarily for certain period of time but to continue like that indefinitely would be chaotic.
Finally, I want to finish this writing with some possible incidents that might happen as a result of the cutting down of student metrocards for the NYC kids. As my little brother who is currently a high school freshman was struck by a group of kids of the same age demanding money just yesterday, the incidents of student-caused robbery, fights, gang activity would increase by very large margin. As there would be less obligation to attend schools, kids would join these gang-related groups and threatening domestic peace. All these are just my general speculations. But it is very likely as kids from poor neighborhoods would have no option or no interest in school at all. I just hope my speculations are wrong.
Lastly, I would like to address Mr. President of the US and Mayor of NYC that people have bestowed their trust in you folks to reform the system. Mike Bloomberg have been elected for three times with the November 2009 election victory. It is mainly your duty, as I and many others believe, to stop the fragile MTA from cutting down student metrocards. Also, I also would like to draw President Obama's attention to this matter as he has focused on students as the future of this great nation throughout his campaign. If these kids are neglected in such a way from education in a free democratic society, then how do you envision to grow the nation for a better future in the coming days? Please do something about it. It is not from me (a college sophomore) but from the heart of most K-12 students to do something about this crisis.