City Council members oppose changes to student MTA bus pass access

Posted at 1:14 PM, Dec 12, 2016

Baltimore City Council members are meeting Monday night to oppose recent changes that now limit students’ access to MTA bus rides.

Using the citywide S-Pass, students were once able to ride the MTA bus for free from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., which allowed multiple rides throughout the day--from home, to school, to after-school programs and back home again.

According to City Councilman Zeke Cohen, a contract change this school year between MTA and City Schools altered the pass policy, ending rides at 6 p.m. and giving students only two swipes each day.

Cohen, the chairman of the City Council Youth and Education Committee, said the change prevents students from getting home after attending after-school programs. “We have heard from children, parents and program directors that this policy change is hurting our kids,” Cohen said in a news release.

"As the former Executive Director of a Youth Leadership Organization, I understand the devastating effect this policy will have on our families and kids,” Cohen said. “Children in Baltimore rely on after school programs to provide a safe and productive place to learn, play and grow. By restricting their access, we send the message that our young people lack value."

Cohen, along with Councilmembers Kristerfer Burnett, Mary Pat Clarke and Ryan Dorsey, are scheduled to meet at City Hall at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the policy changes and possible solutions.

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