Student organization fights MTA price-hike

In the face of ongoing budget cuts, one student organization wants to take on the MTA in an effort to extend public transportation discounts to St John’s commuters.

According to Campus Activies, roughly 83 percent of St. John’s students are commuter students.

The Campus Commuter Connection (CCC) is collaborating with other colleges in New York City, in an effort to provide discount MetroCards to students.

Donald Wiggins, a sophomore and the secretary of CCC, said that the push for discount MetroCards is still in the “beginning stages.”

The MTA has recently announced extensive budget cuts. Under the proposed plan, MetroCards discounts will no longer be offered to middle school and high school students. About 400,000 public school students currently receive full fare MetroCards and about 170,000 students receive reduced fare MetroCards.

According to Wiggins, a petition is being circulated to convince the MTA of the need to not only continue the discounts, but extend the reduced rate to area college students.

The CCC has worked with the University on several other projects before this one. According to Wiggins, CCC was involved in revising the University’s shuttle schedule.

The organization also holds gatherings for commuters to get together and interact, such as Commuter Chat, which is a chance for commuters to come to the CCC with questions or concerns. The CCC will then take these to the faculty and administration.
CCC is relatively new to the fight for college MetroCards.

“We became involved at the end of last semester, in light of [MTA] rate hikes,” said Yvette Clairjeane, president of the CCC.
Several commuter students said they support the organization’s efforts.

Freshman Sara Kryeziu, who travels by mass transit twice a day, said that the discount would help already cash-strapped college students.

“[Commuters] don’t work, and if we do, we don’t work a lot,” Kryeziu said. “We’re working for our Metrocards. $2.25 for a 20 minute ride is ridiculous. Who can afford to pay for MetroCards?”

Sophomore Faith Victoria Ndifornyen (agreed that she would utilize discount MetroCards for college students.

“I’m a Staten Island student,” Ndifornyen said. “I take the shuttle, but when the shuttle is inconvenient, I have to take MTA transit.”

Senior Andrew Detoure drives to campus each day and called the MTA transit system “a hassle.” However, he would support any measure that could lessen the burden on financially-stretched students.