Rabbi Zwiebel Protests MTA MetroCard Phase-Out Plan


chaim-dovid-zweibel-1In his capacity as chairman of the Committee of Religious and Independent School Officials of the City of New York, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Agudath Israel of America’s executive vice president, voiced strong opposition to a New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority plan to phase out student fare discounts.

The MTA has been holding public hearings this week on several proposed changes designed to reduce the agency’s expenses, including the eventual elimination of fare discounts for New York City students.

“This plan,” Rabbi Zwiebel stated in written testimony to the MTA, “will have a devastating effect on all public and nonpublic school children in the city who rely on their half and full fare student discount MetroCards to attend school. The loss of these discounts for students would impose an extreme hardship on families, especially now during this difficult financial climate.”

Writing on behalf of the entire nonpublic school community, Rabbi Zwiebel noted that many of the nearly 21% of New York City elementary and secondary student population enrolled in religious and independent schools come from the lowest socio-economic levels of the city. The impact of the MTA’s proposal will be felt most severely in this sector, the Agudath Israel leader noted, because nonpublic school students often live farther away from their schools and require public transportation to get to and from school.

He also called attention to the fact that “children who attend religious schools whose school day concludes after 4:30 PM (as it does for many Jewish school students above grade 3), when the Department of Education does not provide yellow bus service, have no choice but to use public transportation to get home.”

Their parents, he continued, “will therefore have to bear the additional significant expense of daily public transportation – further exacerbating the disproportionate impact the MTA’s plan will have on the nonpublic school sector.”

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}