posted 2011-02-09 13:30:44

MTA Fare Hike met With Wrath - Hunter students react

mtaMTA Fare Hike met With Wrath

Hunter students react

Kristina Navrazhina

Contributing Writer

Hunter College students are feeling the burn – on their wallets, that is. Students returning to school for the spring semester must contend--in addition to the cost of textbooks and rising tuition--with the most recent round of MTA fare hikes, which went into effect Jan. 1.

It is now $2.50 for a single ride MetroCard, $0.25 more than in 2010. Additionally, the Monthly Unlimited pass to New York's subways and buses—a favorite of many Hunter students—is now $104, compared to $89 in prior years. Hunter students, most of whom commute to school, agree that while the fare hikes may not seem like a lot, every penny counts. According to this reporter's calculations, if each of Hunter's 20,000+ students traveled from home to Hunter College once a day, the MTA would earn about $59,370 daily from the Hunter population alone. That is approximately $8,905 more than they would have made without the hike. The numbers are big, but even the seemingly small price per ride is important to the Hunter College students interviewed by The Envoy.

For Hunter freshman Maryana Kotynkevycha, who supports herself without the help of parents, the fare hike is a great financial burden. “I felt really bad [swiping] my debit card, thinking whether I should get [the monthly unlimited card] or not because it was over a hundred dollars,” Kotynkevycha said.  “I actually have to work for the MetroCard and it comes from my own money and expenses.”

Hunter student Nicole Lennon added that, “the monopoly that is the MTA has made it so that we cannot avoid paying an unfair amount to live our everyday lives.”

Indeed for most Hunter students, it's public transportation or bust. It is virtually impossible for the majority of Hunter's students, most of whom are commuters, to get to class without taking a train, bus, or combination of the two. Though the college has about 600 dorm rooms at Hunter's Brookdale Campus, they are still approximately a half hour away by train.

For Hunter student Sarah Vorsagner, driving is a viable alternative to public transportation. “Even though driving in the city is somewhat time-consuming and looking for parking is a nightmare, it is more relaxing than taking [public transportation] because you don’t have to worry about finding a seat or train cars being packed at rush-hour. This is definitely a problem if one of your classes ends around that time,” Vorsagner said. However, Vorsagner is the exception rather than the rule.

Hunter College students are only starting to see the potential effects of the latest MTA fare increase. Only time will tell how students adjust to the latest fare hikes. Hunter student and museum enthusiast Alexis Siegel lamented  that the fare hike makes it more difficult for her to take advantage of the cultural opportunities nearby Hunter. “One objective I had when going to college was to broaden my horizons,” she said. “I think part of attending Hunter College in Manhattan is being able to utilize the many resources that Manhattan as a city has to offer, especially the interesting museums.

“As a college student I already have very limited funds which are for the most part spent on college fees. Now that the MTA fairs have gone up yet again I doubt I’ll be able to spend the money to go to those museums that I believe help further my education.”

When asked if the latest MTA fare hike, in addition to the proposed tuition hikes and bills stacking up, would affect the lifestyle of Hunter students negatively, freshman Michael Turman responded with a resounding “yes, yes it will.”

Lennon perhaps said it best:  “$104 for unlimited? A girl needs to eat.”