Community / Lifestyle / Opinion

The M7 card should be available for every zone of the commuter rail

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is a resource for education accessibility through its recent M7 program. An M7 card is a preloaded MBTA Pass that middle and high school Boston resident students can use all year round. These passes are paid for by schools and can be used for unlimited travel on the subway and in Zones 1A, 1, and 2 on the commuter rail. A lot of students use their M7 card as a means of transportation to and from school; therefore, the M7 card should cover all zones of the commuter rail.

According to Boston.com, students were first able to use their M7 card for unlimited travel on the subway and certain zones on the commuter rail in September 2022. 

At the time, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said, “M7s are an excellent benefit that allow Boston-area students to travel during the school year and during the summer months to their classes, after-school activities, and more at no cost to the student or their family.” Additionally, Mayor Michelle Wu expressed her support and excitement for the use of the M7 card.  

However, there’s a gap in this accessibility as the M7 card only covers certain zones on the commuter rail. This is a problem especially if a student is in The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) program, through which students who reside in Boston can attend public schools in other areas like Natick or Newton. These METCO students are unable to use an M7 card because they are traveling outside of the Boston zones. Therefore, students will be paying around $2.40-$13.25 for a one way trip on the commuter rail. Students who use public transportation as their only means of transportation will not be able to attend school without paying a high fee. This is wrong because every student deserves to go to school without worrying about paying huge fees that may not be accessible for them.

Additionally, making the M7 card accessible for all zones on the commuter rail will allow students to take advantage of all the resources throughout the Greater Boston area. For example, students outside of Boston could go to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) or to the Copley Library.

For full educational equality, students in the Boston area must be able to use the M7 card on all zones of the commuter rail.

Image Source: The Boston Globe

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