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Students Take Action to Save Their MetroCards

New York City high school students traveled with community groups to Washington, D.C. to talk to lawmakers about how losing the free Student MetroCard would negatively impact their communities.  They urged representatives to support a bill that would provide more federal funding for public transportation.

[music]
Henry Gomez: [0:05] Without the school MetroCard, I can't go to school.
Samantha Adams: [0:11] The MTA is thinking about cutting the student MetroCards, which would be pretty much a disaster for a lot of my students.
Vincent Gonzalez: [0:17] Without school MetroCards, people are limited to a local district, and it affects the education.
Samantha Adams: [0:23] Students would have to pay pretty much full price for their MetroCard, which gets very, very expensive very quickly.
Shamrod Lockwood: [0:30] A lot of kids will drop out. Grades will drop. Class attendance will start going down.
Cecil Corbin Mark: [0:39] The transportation system, particularly the public-transit system in New York, for young people, is a critical link to allowing them to actually live full and rich lives.
Henry Gomez: [0:52] Without an education, you can't do nothing in life. You can't be like the next president and the next big lawyer, the next CEO. And if we can't commute, we're left with the schools that we don't want to be in. [music]
Vincent Gonzalez: [1:04] We went down to DC to try to persuade senators, staffers, and House representative staff to sign onto the bill.
James Burke: [1:19] We're talking about the student MetroCard crisis and the MTA cuts and why it's important that the next federal transportation bill have flexibility. But, overall, our main objective is to grow the pot of money at the federal level for public transportation.
Rebecca Jacobs: [1:28] Streets Education partnered with WE ACT and the Transportation Equity Network to make these scholarships available to bring heritage students down to DC.
Cecil Corbin Mark: [1:43] WE ACT is an organization that works to empower community residents to impact environmental racism and to improve environmental health and policy through organizing, community-based research, and policy advocacy.
Henry Gomez: [1:53] So when I got to meet Senator Gillibrand, it was a really different experience because I never got to meet a politician. I came out and I spoke about the MetroCard, my situation.
Vincent Gonzalez: [2:00] We had over 200 signatures with people that were agreeing that the student MetroCard should not be cut.
Rebecca Jacobs: [2:06] We really wanted to give the students a chance to see how federal transportation policy affects us back in New York.
Vincent Gonzalez: [2:15] When I first came out and I actually saw the Capitol building, that was completely amazing. What happens in Washington affects everyone, nationwide.
Cecil Corbin Mark: [2:19] The fight for transit equity is a fight for all of us having a better transit system. [music]

[2:29]



Robin Urban Smith is a multimedia storyteller who prefers to go by bike.

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  • Ellen Reid

    This is such an important issue. Thank you for taking it seriously and for being active! What can other people do to help the cause?

  • http://Streetfilms Robin Urban Smith

    Ellen: Check out http://www.straphangers.com/ for more information about what you can do to help. Also, check out http://streetseducation.org/ for teaching resources centered on the issue.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/lecola RC

    Yes I remember living in New York and having to pay the hefty charge for a metrocard. Its super tough to leave your 'hood if you don't have one. Hope they get this resolved because $89/month is too high for most inner city students to pay. - http://www.facebook.com/RadicalTransport