A trip for two teenage girls trying to pick up their report cards turned into more than they bargained for on Friday. The teens were going to pick up their report cards from Bishop Kearney High School when they ran into problems due to their student MetroCards expiring. Pete Donohue & Carrie Melago of the New York Daily News has the full story:
A group of Brooklyn schoolgirls heading to pick up their report cards was turned away from a city bus Friday because their student Metrocards had expired – by one day.
The students from Bishop Kearney High School in Bensonhurst were ordered off two buses and ended up trekking 2 miles home.
“They should have understood that we had to get our report cards. They should have been more lenient,” said Christina Hiltunen, 16, who said one driver told her to “take it up with the MTA.”
When their student Metrocards came up “expired” yesterday morning, Hiltunen and three friends pleaded with a sympathetic B3 bus driver to take them on first leg of their 5-mile trip.
But when they tried to transfer to the B9 near Kings Plaza, the driver made them get off.
While waiting about a half-hour for the next bus, the girls pulled together enough change for two fares, used a regular Metrocard for one of the girls and convinced the next driver to let the fourth student on for free.
The girls fared worse going home. The B9 driver let them on, but the B3 turned them away, forcing them to hike 2 miles.
Kevin Hiltunen, Christina’s dad, was outraged, particularly since the Daily News exposed that so many MTA executives have been receiving free Metrocards and E-ZPasses.
“In light of what’s been going on with the MTA in the last couple of weeks, those idiots fighting for free E-ZPasses, this is bull,” he said. “It’s a small word, but it means a lot – it’s common sense.”
Private and parochial school students are eligible for MetroCards for either full or partial fare, but the cards follow the city school calendar. And Thursday was the last day for city schools.
The MTA stood by the drivers telling the kids to leave the buses.
“This not a case of common sense. It’s a case where the MetroCard was expired,” said Charles Seaton, NYC Transit spokesman. “The bus operator has no way knowing if there are extenuating circumstances and acted correctly.”
I have to side with the bus drivers in this case. While it is understandable why someone would feel bad for the kids, the drivers were doing their job. How are they supposed to know where the teens were going? A bus driver would have no idea of where these or any kids or teens would be going. If the card says it is expired, then he is trained to follow certain procedures. I admit I wouldn’t be surprised if the tone was harsh with the “take it up with the MTA” comment but either way it still doesn’t change my opinion.
As far as Christina’s dad is concerned, he is within his rights to be outraged. However comparing his daughter’s situation to the free perk scandal & common sense is misguided. It is not “common sense” for the bus driver to let his daughter technically ride for free illegally which is what he would have been doing if she was allowed to stay on.
I do wonder about something though, did the girls know when the cards expired? I would imagine that all students would be notified as to when their MetroCards would cease to work due to the school year being over. If they were notified, I do not feel sorry for them. However if they were not, I could be more understanding of their frustration.
xoxo Transit Blogger