Sep
12

Tales from a fare-jumping high school student

By · Published in 2011

Pete Donohue’s weekly column made its appearance in the Daily News today, and it is a thought-provoking one, to say the least. In it, Donohue follows a 17-year-old student who attends high school in Park Slope but lives in a neighborhood far away both physically and socioeconomically, and the main thrust of the column focuses on Alicia’s fare-jumping.

Although Alicia has a Student MetroCard, she says she still jumps the turnstiles as often as possible in order to save up her student rides for non-school-related activities. She told Donohue that she uses the rides to travel elsewhere — to the movies, to visit friends — and she doesn’t worry about a potential summons. “Why would I?” she said. “I know when to hop and where to hop. I know where the police are going to be and when they’re going to be there.”

The 17-year-old has a very them-vs.-us approach to her illegal activities (and her abuse of the Student MetroCard as well). “The cops, the MTA, they’re all going to get paid whether I pay or not, whether I hop or don’t hop. I could put the money I save aside into a college fund or something,” she said. The article, though, is about more than just this one girl’s experiences; it’s about socioeconomic class in New York, attitudes toward transit and the role of the much maligned and underfunded Student MetroCard program. It’s worth a read and some deeper thoughts as well.



Categories : Asides, MetroCard

16 Responses to “Tales from a fare-jumping high school student”

  1. Eric F. says:

    So I guess this will open within the next two weeks? Any intel.?

    http://secondavenuesagas.com/2...../#comments

  2. John says:

    I hate to see such selfish and entitled attitudes. She can afford a $10 movie but not the $4 subway round trip? Unfortunately, I think the Student Metrocards actually contributed to this attitude. I think many people perceive them as saying “students get free transit” instead of “students get free rides to and from school,” so that’s why they feel entitled to more than just their allotted 3 rides.

    I really don’t like the current implementation of the Student Metrocard. I think they should either give students unlimited “free” rides, or give them a pay-per-ride card (possibly with reduced fares). All costs should be covered by the schools.

    • Justin says:

      Well, its not like most high school kids have jobs to be able to pay out $104 a month for unlimited rides………….

      So yes, if they can get away with fare evasion, they will. The MTA may have helped with this by laying off booth clerks. But having enough people on staff to reduce fare evasion is a cost in and of itself…………..

      And please, a high school kid isn’t going to be worried about the fiscal state of the MTA.

      • SpendmoreWastemore says:

        Booth clerks couldn’t care less about kids jumping the gate. Plenty of times I’ve seen them watch it happen, it’s variable by neighborhood. Wouldn’t be surprised if clerks at those stops tip off kids on the rare occasion there’s a cop around.

        Funny about the hipster who thought he was 1 k3wl kwube. Busted his own kneecaps!

  3. Brian says:

    it works on a 3 ride per day basis how does she stockpile rides?

    • John says:

      Yeah I was confused about this too. I was under the impression that the 3 rides reset every day and didn’t accumulate. This is just stupidity on the MTA’s behalf. If you can program the system to determine when a 30-day swipe is activated, and cut it off after 30 days, surely you can program it to make the student MetroCard’s 3 rides expire everyday, thus not allowing them to accumulate.

      • John says:

        Or maybe they do and she just saves them for when she needs them during the course of the day?

      • Jason B says:

        They do expire every day; if you don’t use three then they don’t accumulate. And they shut off at 8:30PM. Cards are good for the year.

        There’s a real problem too with the half-fare MetroCards that work on buses only. You swipe, then are supposed to pay $1.10. Many bus drivers let the students board anyways (at least in the vicinity of the middle school I work at in Morris Heights) and students don’t pay. I can’t say I blame the drivers. If little kids or middle schoolers don’t have the $1.10 a driver isn’t going to stop them from getting to school.

        • ajedrez says:

          Correct. If you don’t use the rides, they disappear, and the MetroCards don’t work on the weekends or after 8:30PM. They don’t start working until 5:30AM

          I wonder if there are students who are impacted by the 5:30AM start. It’s possible to have a class start at, say 7AM and get there from the other side of the city and have to leave before 5:30AM, though it’s not likely.

          In any case, as far as the half-fare MetroCards go, the bus drivers aren’t going to hold up the bus for an extra few dollars. If the students can’t get on, they’ll most likely walk and the MTA won’t get the money anyway.

  4. jj says:

    Probably comes from a broken home

    food stamps
    welfare
    high school dropout mom with 4 kids from 3 fathers

    • Justin says:

      Are you sure rich kids never do “bad” stuff? I went to an Ivy League school, and knew my share of drug addicts amongst them.

    • Alex C says:

      How very bright. So when I see a trust fund baby or a fancy dressed hipster jump a turnsile (incidentally the hipster fell on his knees when he climbed over), does that count? Or does them coming from affluence excuse them?

    • skunky says:

      my parents have been married 40+ years, middle class, white, I went to private school, Columbia, etc. I jumped turnstiles as a kid. OK I didn’t need to since you used to be able to walk right in thru the exit gates.
      What’s your point? That you’re a elitist who thinks all societal problems stem from welfare? That poverty is a moral problem? Go back to the 1890s.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Although Alicia has a Student MetroCard, she says she still jumps the turnstiles as often as possible in order to save up her student rides for non-school-related activities. She told Donohue that she uses the rides to travel elsewhere — to the movies, to visit friends — and she doesn’t worry about a potential summons. via secondavenuesagas.com […]

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