City/State-Wide

Students Can’t Keep Up With Cost of Transportation

Growing Cost of NYC Transit is Expensive for Traveling Students

By: Christina Fratto

E-ZPass is just another form of a metrocard but for drivers – there is no discount or reduction on toll price for college students.

Congestion prices are about to be established as upcoming charging fees on drivers traveling throughout the busiest parts of the city in order to raise money to fix MTA services and reduce gridlock.

Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a plan that charges a daily fee for passenger cars of $11.52, as well as tacking on a surcharge of roughly $3 for in-hire cars such as Uber, taxi-cabs and $.75 cents for carpool rides, according to The New York Times.

CSI students who drive through the boroughs of NYC such as Manhattan, Brooklyn, and even as far as the Bronx and Queens not only have to worry about gas, but are burdened with the Verrazano-Narrows bridge toll, which costs $11.52 with  E-Z pass. All this- on top of the proposed added cost commuters have to face when driving through or traveling through Manhattan.

Students like Amber Shah have no choice but to drive too school because the MTA is unreliable, or they live too far are struggling now.

These changes are only going to make it worse.

“I drive to and from school four times a week,” she said. “I can barely afford to pay for the bridge now, how am I going to afford another toll?”

Students struggle financially every semester to pay for tuition, textbooks, supplies, and now the growing tolls and charges NYC burdens them with every year just to get from one place to another. In order to make ends meet to pay for these necessities, students find themselves working full time as well as trying to manage a full time school schedule.

Joshua Olivencia, a CSI student who lives in Park Slope, wakes up at 6AM every morning to catch the B64 bus, which usually runs late, to catch the s93 bus in Bay Ridge to make it to his 9am class. After class ends, he does it all over again just to get home, or even worse, takes an Uber or a cab to the city to make his job.

His occupation helps to pay for the expenses of a monthly metro, his school supplies, and or an Uber which he takes more times than he would like.

“There is not enough time or money to keep up with these expensive costs,” he said. “It’s almost impossible.”

According to Dnainfo, the average cost of a monthly metrocard in 2016 was $116.50. In 2018, it rose to $121, a $4.50 increase, which could have been used to buy a meal or some sort of greater purpose for the individual buying it.

These rising prices were said to fund maintenance on trains and buses according to the MTA, but no improvements have been made.

There is no leeway or discounted prices for tolls on college students and these costs are clearly getting too high to handle.

Assemblyman William Colton has stated he is against these plans, as he believes it is unfair to subject New Yorkers to additional fees without some fort of increased benefit, which the plan has not mentioned.

It merely mentions how and why the city might be charged a congestion fee if passed but fails to provide what benefits it will bring and how it will impact the city in a positive way.  According to Amny, Mayor Bill de Blasio agrees with the idea of the plan but clearly sees its faults and lack of fairness.

Mike Intriago, another CSI student, has been working since he was 16 years-old to help his family pay bills, as well as being a fulltime student, finds it extremely stressful and hard to manage money and school costs.

“I have a lot of bills to worry about, I help support my family,” he said. “I hope this doesn’t get passed, or I might even have to drop out because it’s getting too much.”

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