BCC Students Protest BC Transit Fare Hikes
10/3/2012 (Updated 7:05:46 PM)(Source: Jason Weinstein)
"I do ride the bus. I utilize the 31-day pass. I pay for it out of my own pocket to come here every day and they're cutting it," said BCC student Kelly Gill.
These BCC students are protesting the proposed fare hikes to BC transit in County Executive Debbie Preston's proposed budget,
specifically the elimination of the 31-day unlimited pass. That pass has cost $52.50, with a reduced rate of $33 for seniors, the disabled, and students like these. A proposed 30-ride pass would cost $53. And these students feel they'd have to buy at least two of those per month to get to school, effectively tripling their transportation costs.
"We're going to have to buy more bus passes to get through the month and I can't afford that. And most of my fellow students can't
afford that," said Gill.
"I just learned actually just as I walked over here that the issue was as serious as it is in Broome County. We addressed it last year with the county and I guess we'll be addressing it again," said BCC President Dr. Kevin Drumm.
Preston says rising fuel prices, an aging fleet, union contracts, and other costs have made the fare hikes necessary. She also points out she has restored previously eliminated bus routes - including one from BCC at night. Her campaign also notes Preston's proposed budget adds almost $294,000 to BC Transit.
"This is not something that we took lightly. But it was either that or not put back any of the services that had been cut in the previous administration," said Preston.
Just feet from this protest were displays for Completion Day, where BCC students were asked to pledge to complete their schoolwork to get their degree.
"If we pledge to make this commitment to stay, which is a great idea, I am so for it, but I can't afford to come to class. How am I supposed to complete my associates degree if I can't get here," said Gill.
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