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MTA authorizes full-fare MetroCards for NYC students

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Students in grades K-12 who currently get half-fare, bus-only MetroCards will receive a full-fare one

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NYC students who currently receive half-fare MetroCards will get full-fare ones.

On Wednesday, the MTA Board approved the proposal, which will replace the current student cards—half-fare, bus-only MetroCards for K-12 students living at least half a mile from their school—for full-fare cards for both bus and subway use with three free rides per day.

“This is a common-sense policy that makes it easier for kids to get to school and does away with needless complexities that have existed for too long,” New York City Transit president Andy Byford said in a statement. “Replacing half-fare cards with full-fare ones saves money for students and saves time for everyone on a bus since the need for coins is eliminated.”

According to the MTA, there are 27,000 daily bus trips using half-fare MetroCards, and students who currently use them have to pay $1.35 in coins for each ride.

Eligibility for student MetroCards is based on distance and grade level. For instance, kids in kindergarten through second grade who live less than half a mile away from their school receive half-fare cards; but students between third and 12th grades, who live at that same distance, are not eligible. Complete information on eligibility can be found on the Department of Education website.

The proposal approval comes four months after the city rolled out its Fair Fares program, which offers discounted unlimited MetroCards to New Yorkers who already receive benefits through the city. As we previously reported, the de Blasio administration was criticized when the program launched because it would only apply to around 30,000 people. In March, the city announced it would expand the program and make it available to NYCHA residents, CUNY students, and veterans living in poverty by the fall.

“We continue doubling down on our outreach efforts as we bring this game-changing resource to even more New Yorkers who need it,” Lourdes Centeno, spokesperson for the city’s Human Resource Administration (HRA), told Curbed. Centeno added that more than 45,000 New Yorkers have enrolled in the Fair Fares program so far.