1,000 students walk out to save free rides
About 1,000 New York City high school students walked out of class Friday and rallied near City Hall to protest a plan to eliminate their free transit passes.
The students left schools around the city at noon and converged at City Hall Park, where they chanted "Save our MetroCards!" and "This is what democracy looks like."
The protest comes a day after Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a stepped-up effort to fight truancy.
Fernando Matos, 17, a student at Samuel Gompers High School in the Bronx, said that without a free transit pass he would have to transfer to a different school.
More than 500,000 city students receive free or reduced-fare MetroCards to get to and from school.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has proposed ending the free rides as part of its effort to close an $800 million budget gap.
Without the free passes, families would be forced to buy monthly MetroCards at a cost of about $1,000 a year per child.