Monday, August 20, 2007

Off Island Schools: We'll Only Pay for Half Your Commute

As indicated in one of the side panel polls there are a number of Roosevelt Island children that go to public schools located in Manhattan. For most of these children they rely on school provided metrocards to allow them to travel to school whether it be via subway or tram. For the youngest of these commuters their parents commute with them taking them door to door.

Optimally you would think that if enough children from one school were provided with bus service direct from Main Street that would fill a need making the children's commutes more efficient. The question then becomes would the added time on the bus waiting through any Queensborough Bridge related traffic be worth it. An alternative apparently suggested by one group of parents last year was that they would bring their kids over via the tram but asked for a defined bus stop where a bus would pick the children up and take them the rest of the way.

It was unfortunately at this point that the City schools said we can do that but that they would no longer issue these children Metrocards forcing the parents to layout the fares for the tram rides to and from school.

Putting aside the reasons why families enroll their kids in public school off the island you would think the schools would see the value in providing the tram fare as opposed to having a bus sit in bridge traffic.

It is my understanding that the inclusion of the tram under the Metrocard system (brokered by our former City Council Speaker Gifford Miller) does not turn over our fares fully to the MTA but results in a percentage of those funds returning to RIOC to be applied against tram operation costs. If that is the case could RIOC waive the tram fares for these children upon presentment of a RIOC school fare card to the tram operators. In this manner the City schools would also be assured that our kids are not abusing the school issued fare cards that we have been reading about.

In all likelihood these parents will continue to commute directly to these off-island schools with their children but it is an issue that confronts many of our neighbors when they decide to send their children to public school in Manhattan.

Related Linkage:

Public Schools Update (Roosevelt Islander)

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