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MTA fare hikes create difficult conditions for CUNY students

The MTA recently implemented a new round of fare hikes on March 20 as part of its regular schedule to raise rates biennially since 2009. While the cost of a single ride MetroCard stayed at $2.75, fares for the weekly and monthly cards increased to $32 and $121 respectively, a change big enough to worry anxious college students.

Deemed a commuter school, Baruch College plays host to many students who rely on public transportation to meet their travel needs. Students rely on the MTA to bring them to and from school and activities in which they are involved.

While some students see the slight increase as an insignificant change, others argue that the fare hike will just give the MTA more money to waste. With each hike, it has become more apparent that the MTA is not well-managed and that its progress in solving the overcrowding and service issues has, unfortunately, been minimal, if at all.

For many classes, attendance is reflected as part of each student’s final participation grade. Consistent tardiness caused by unexpected train delays and weekend construction has forced many students to miss valuable class time and reschedule their plans.

One suggestion to improve the subway would be to reduce the car density during rush hours. This can be achieved by creating a system that would determine the number of passengers in each car prior to its arrival to the station. Many riders know the pain of waiting for a train only to get on a full cart. Sometimes, when running to a different car, riders could miss the train, which only leads to more anger and frustration.

Although the MTA has failed to address complaints from its riders, one thing the agency deserves to be commended for is its integration of new technology. Earlier this year, the MTA added and made Wi-Fi service available to all 279 of its underground subway stations.

While CUNY has done a good job of keeping tuition affordable for its students, those who need to take out loans could face further burdens with a rising interest rate environment. The higher fares could be more than what some students can handle, given their financial situation.

If the MTA is going to raise fares, the least it can do is make the system more reliable and enjoyable for its riders. Fare hikes should be justified by legitimate needs for improvement projects that are more than just the agency’s empty promise to the millions of New Yorkers who use the transit to move around the city.

March 27, 2017

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