By Amaani Bhamla.
At City College, the vast majority of students travel to class by subway. This makes the latest fare hike especially painful. Despite cutting back on service last summer, on October 7, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) voted to raise prices—the fourth increase since 2005. The cost of the most popular unlimited metro card will go up from $89 to $104 a month effective December 30, 2010.
The MTA says it’s raising fares to generate 7.5% revenue and cover millions of dollars of debt. MTA chairman Jay Walder told The New York Daily News recently, “I don’t think that’s really the choice we have right now.”
The Straphangers Campaign, an advocacy group, opposes the fare hike, claiming that, “riders are being asked to pay more for less, given the tens of millions of dollars in service cuts the MTA put into effect in late June.”
Closer to home, many CCNY students wonder, “why should we be the scapegoat for the MTA’s financial drama?” “Everything goes up but our paycheck,” says Carl Chinatomby, a junior who struggles to pay his tuition. “If the fares continue to hike, I’ll be broke pretty soon.”
Some students feel that the fare hike might have been reasonable if the services had improved. “The subway seems so dirty and so unsafe in the night, and there’s not good security, says Saba Mohsin, 22, who commutes from Long Island. “I think fare hikes are bullshit.”
Pavitra Bindra, a junior who commutes from Queens to Manhattan for both school and work, adds, “I think it’s absolutely ridiculous due to the fact that we don’t even get accurate service.”
Between now and January, students like Moshin are re-thinking their budgets. “It’s an extra $15 a month, my lunch money.”