Student MetroCard program set to expand

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The MTA Board officially approved a proposal that expands full-fare MetroCard access for students on Wednesday. The proposed resolution expands access to three-trip, full-fare student MetroCards for students who currently have half-fare MetroCards, and would eliminate the half-fare MetroCard program.

Half-fare student MetroCards allow bus-only access for K-12 students who live at least half a mile from their school. Students with half-fare cards are supposed to pay $1.35 in coins for every ride, which the MTA said increases dwell time and can be challenging to collect.

The resolution would give half-fare recipients the same three-trip MetroCard that other students already receive, which gives students three free rides every day and can be used on buses and subways.

There are currently 27,000 daily bus trips using half-fare cards. The MTA issued 200,500 half-fare MetroCards to the Department of Education for distribution for the spring semester of 2018, and data from the DOE shows that 66 percent of the half-fare MetroCards that are shipped to schools and distributed are never used, and of the cards that are used, they are used on only eight percent of school days.

Continue reading

MTA aiming to restore parking on E. 14th St., add pedestrian spaces

L train construction site on East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

With preparations for the L train shutdown already months in progress, 14th Street residents are now seeing changes to create the incoming busway, increased pedestrian spaces and accommodations for bicyclists.

Residents and local business owners have also expressed concern about the shrinking sidewalk space on the south side of 14th Street right by the First Avenue station and the loss of parking in the same area due to the preliminary work by the MTA.

However, Kaitlin McCready with NYC Transit said at a recent Community Board 6 transportation committee meeting that the agency is aiming to reopen the south side of East 14th Street by the end of this month, and restore parking there in the next several months, ideally by next January.

The Union Square Partnership also sent out updates at the beginning of November, noting that implementation for a shared street on University Place will begin this month. Shared streets are roads where pedestrians and cyclists share space with slow-moving vehicles, and the shared street on University will be between East 13th and 14th Streets. The additions will include creating curb extensions on University Place and East 14th at the southeast and southwest corners, as well as at the northwest and southeast corners of East 13th Street.

Continue reading

Letters to the Editor, May 15

May15 Toon Google

MTA customers being taken for a ghost ride

When my job changed and I no longer needed to navigate the subways and buses as frequently, I stopped buying “Unlimited” Metrocards and started buying “Limited” Metrocards, paying per ride and filling the card when the balance dropped.
I’d check my balance, on occasion, as I whizzed through a subway turnstile or when I dipped my card in a bus card reader but admittedly, I have reached a certain age where I need to write this down – and don’t.
Recently, I noticed my Metrocard being pulled up and down several times in the bus card reader. This had happened at other times, but the difference was I had just filled my card and knew what my balance should be. I transferred to the subway and as I swiped my card I noticed that the balance was significantly lower than it should be.
The light bulb went on – what I had thought was a harmless glitch in the card reader, one that didn’t affect the monetary value of my card, is probably a financial bonanza for the MTA because with each one of those dips, a deduction was taken for a ghost “ride.” It took me a while to notice I was losing money and that money is irretrievable but the MTA now has my undivided attention each time I board a bus.
Every time, and I mean every time, I use my Metrocard on an MTA bus, I watch to see how many times it will be pulled down.
Once is all it should be, once down then up so you can grab it. Just recently, I had to apply to the MTA for a refund for two additionally subtracted rides when my card was pulled down into the card reader a total of three times, two times too many.
The MTA is good about refunding your money in the form of Metrocard for the amount that was erroneously deducted. You apply on the Metrocard eFix website and follow the instructions. You must remember the time of the incident, the bus line, M14 or M15 for instance and the amount you think you are owed and you must have the Metrocard that was affected because you will need the serial number on the back.
I’d like to know why there is no signage saying something to the effect that “if your card dips more than once you may be due a refund.”
Karen Butler, ST


Options for cheaper medication

Re: Chefs deliver gourmet meals to seniors, T&V, Apr. 3
Yet another article in these pages regarding seniors who have to choose between splitting pills and having enough to eat prompted me to “reach out to” the pharmacist at Kmart Astor Place.
I was told that everyone is encouraged to call them at (212) 253-9661. (Press 0 once the recording starts to get straight through.) They will gladly give you a free price quote. So have your medication’s specifics at ready reference before calling. Kmart pharmacy is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. They also deliver. Kmart likely offers the best prices in the neighborhood, by far, for most prescription medications.
Just brought to my attention, though, is or (877) 207-6785. They claim an average discount of 47 percent and to be accepted at over 50,000 pharmacies to include Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid in addition to many places I’ve never heard of. They are part of ScriptRelief, L.L.C. and are located in Washington, D.C.
Billy Sternberg, ST


T&V welcomes letters to the editor

All letters should include name, address and telephone number, although authors’ names may be withheld at their request. Letters should be sent to or 20 W. 22nd St., 14th floor, New York, NY, 10010. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Preference will be given to those on local topics. Deadline is Monday at 5 p.m.