The Cost of Getting to School

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Yorkers aren’t the only ones who call their buses and subways their “yellow school bus.” Other cities also use mass transit to get their students to school, sometimes just as intensively as in New York. Today, as a group of New York City high schoolers meet with MTA Chairman Jay Walder to plead their case on preserving student Metrocards, WNYC takes a look at how other cities handle student discounts. Below WNYC's Matthew Schuerman discusses the issue with Soterios Johnson.

In short, New York’s a pretty good place to be a student (they ride for free or half-fare, depending on how far they live from school), while a mediocre place to be a transit agency (transit agencies in Boston and San Francisco also eat a large proportion of the cost of student discounts).

Here’s who pays how much in typical fare scenarios around the country:

(Graphic by Stephen Nessen with information provided by schools and transit agenices)

(Graphic by Stephen Nessen with information provided by schools and transit agenices)

Further numbers:

New York City: About 270,000 public school students get full fare discounts for buses and subways. Another 250,000 get half-fare discounts good for city buses.

Boston: 14,000 of 18,000 public high school students take mass transit.

Philadelphia: 52,000 out of Philadelphia’s 163,000 public school students receive passes.

San Francisco: 18,500 youth passes sell in an average month, for a student population of 56,000.

Chicago: 99,000 out of 407,000 public school students get monthly student passes.


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Comments [3]

Remainders: Dissecting the renewal of UFT’s

[...] WNYC looks at how other cities finance public transportation for students going to school. [...]

Mar. 17 2010 08:51 PM
Seaman Drake

Americans often think that Canada is the big socialist state but not when it comes to transit. Based on the above, students anywhere in the US are getting a sweet deal. Try being a student in Toronto, a city that uses transit nearly as much as New York. Children under 12 pay 75 cents a ride and students age 12-19 pay $2.00 a ride.

Mar. 17 2010 10:56 AM

However, what is the relative income in each city for families in public schools, and poverty rates in those cities in relationship to transit costs? This would give us more information.

The NYC DOE has a fairly high rate of low income public school students. Yes, their transit is subsidized, but it is possible that they can afford to pay less.

Mar. 17 2010 10:46 AM

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