MTA Discount on the Table for NYC Students


Nathalie Appert

The platform of Eighth Street – New York University station as train arrives.

Brooke Jensen, Contributing Writer

NYU students may be eligible for discounted MetroCards after the Collegiate Congress, a city-wide student rights advocacy organization, negotiated with MTA officials this week.  

The Collegiate Congress issued a petition that calls for a 30 percent discount on the monthly Unlimited Metro Ride Card. The organization has been continuously working towards making this discount a reality.

Along with this petition, they conducted a survey of 600 college students living in New York City and found 71 percent of them don’t have an Unlimited Metro Ride card. However, the data determined that if students were given a discount, 86 percent of them said they would buy one.

The subways are paramount for commuter students — one of the primary reasons this discount is being so heavily advocated. At NYU alone, 53 percent of undergraduate students commute.

Gallatin junior and President of the Commuter Student Council Daniel Sully said the cost of public transportation is another burden commuters assume in paying for their education.

“Overall, this 30 percent would be unbelievably helpful to commuter students, not just at NYU but across the city,” Sully said.

The survey conducted by the Collegiate Congress also highlighted the financial burden put on college students living in New York. 55 percent of students assume the responsibility of paying their own rent, while 34 percent of students pay for their tuition in its entirety.

Members of the Collegiate Congress Christo Thomas and Weill Cornell spoke at public hearings of the board meetings of the MTA on Dec. 16 and Jan. 27 to propose this discount for college students.

It’s not the first time an idea like this has been floated — last October, New York State Senator Chuck Schumer proposed a bill that would give federal funding to transit agencies across the country who provided a discount on public transportation rates to college students. The bill was introduced to a congressional committee in December.

Despite no current changes in MTA fares, CAS junior and Commuter Student Council VP of Advocacy Kendi Tang said it’s beneficial just to have people talking about this issue.

“It’s going to be a success because this whole issue is being brought more into light,” Tang said. “At least they’re having a conversation about it. This issue is more in the limelight now and I think change will happen.”

It appears that neither the Collegiate Congress nor commuter students are planning to stop advocating for this discount. Being a commuter student himself, CAS freshman Daniel Brioso understands the need to continue spreading this message.

The only way to produce change is through voicing our concerns as college students, both commuters and dorm residents, to city institutions and the MTA,” Brioso said. “With monthly metro cards currently priced at $116, we need to vouch for affordability as individuals in the unique position we find ourselves in as beneficiaries of city and college life.”

Although an attempt to schedule a meeting has not been made, the CFO of the MTA has agreed to review the Collegiate Congress’ petition. In addition, the Collegiate Congress is conducting a similar survey on MetroCard usage and plans to get a sample size of 20,000 students.

Email Brooke Jensen at [email protected].