The College Cost: Public Transportation

Manhattan College would not be the same without the 1 train. Love it or hate it, we rely on it as students living in the city. However, we also pay for it. While $2.50 a swipe doesn’t sound like much, every metro card refill starts to get expensive. Beyond the subway, Jaspers have to calculate the expenses of public transportation into their budgets. Be it a taxi, a bus or the subway, students are spending money to travel in the city.

Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann
Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann


“I take the one train to go to student teaching, but only when I need to with the weather, because it does add up,” Ciara McGinley, a senior education major said. When students need to leave campus for something, be it student teaching, or anything else, the 1 train is almost always the first choice of travel.

In an article published on their website, The New School Free Press noted that unlike many schools in and out of the city, their college was not providing any student discount for public transportation. Manhattan College similarly doesn’t offer a program to students to ease the costs of metro cards. Unlike The New School, however, students at MC do not need to take public transportation to get to class. But in cases like McGinley’s, it’s either walk or take the subway to student teach.

Another major reason the subway costs students so much is that the majority of the college night life is happening off campus in Manhattan. For students to access this they need to take the train. This is also true of trips into the city for things like school projects, as professors often employ in their course work the museums that populate New York City.

Besides the subway system, students have other more expensive options for transportation, including taxis. While they are often much faster than a ride on the 1 train, taxis are far more expensive for students. According to the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, the rate for a cab is $2.50 upon entry and $0.50 per minute as long as the cab is traveling over 12 miles an hour. There are also added charges for tolls, which students have to pass through when entering The Bronx from Manhattan.

“I would take a cab to get home in a faster and safer way, when I’m going into the city or going out or meeting up with friends,” McGinley said.

Mary Kate Dooley, a sophomore, uses the 1 train as her main mode of public transportation. “I take the one train to get into the city,” she said. Dooley said she would also take a cab, as it is much faster than the subway. “Sometimes I might use Uber. They come and pick you and it’s much faster and easier,” she said.

Uber is a company that uses a smartphone application to connect drivers to potential riders in major cities across the world. In New York, there has been some controversy over the company, and the taxi service was suspended in the city for a short while in 2012.

Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann
Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann

Another major concern for students is the closing of the 1 train, which often happens on weekends as the MTA makes repairs or maintenance to the subway. In these cases, students can take the free shuttle bus to 207 Street, and then take the A train onward into Manhattan, although this long process often discourages students from leaving campus at all.

The other option would be the MTA buses. The BX buses run across the Bronx, and have a stop right next to the 1 train station. MC students don’t often use the buses other than for trips that stay inside The Bronx, often to the shops at 225th Street, or when the subway is out of service.

As students in New York City there is often a desire to venture into Manhattan and make the most of the city. Whether it’s to visit a museum, spend a night out with your friends or shopping in the city, there is an additional cost to getting around. With each swipe of your yellow plastic metro card, students are spending money at a rate they may not even realize.