Nicole Baltazar, Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition member and Youth Pass participant

July 1, 2015

Nicole at the Youth Pass pilot opening day celebrationI’m in the 11th grade in Malden High School. I transferred here last year, and prior to that I was living in Boston. I came to America in 2013 and went to Brighton High, and felt really happy because I received a Student Pass for free. I was really happy because I was able to go places and didn’t have to worry about the fare. I went to the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering (ACE) program at Wentworth and the MIT PRIMES circle, a college math class, and it was a great opportunity. When I was going to these programs I used the train and the bus and my pass helped me throughout the year.

When I transferred to Malden I was really surprised that I couldn’t get a Student Pass and had to pay the fares all the time. There was a time when I was sharing a pass with my mom and sometimes our schedules didn’t match up and it was really inconvenient. I got involved with MAACC, the Malden Asian American Community Coalition, and advocated for the Youth Pass in Malden.

I thought the Youth Pass was really great because students are going to pay $1 a day. For me, I ride the bus all the way to and from school. The Youth Pass pilot program is great for teenagers like me because we will save a lot of money and can spend money on other important things.

My friend, we both go to Malden High, was telling me that she uses the ordinary pass because she didn’t know about the Student Pass and she was spending about $3 a day for transportation. I thought that was really absurd because if you do that every day for five days, that’s $15 a week. We’re students and we don’t earn as much money as adults do, but at times we get charged for the ordinary pass. It’s hard for us because we need to save money because we’re students. I told her to get the Student Pass but she still spent $2 a day to get to and from school. Then, I told her to sign up for the Youth Pass and we were both accepted into the program. If she uses the Youth Pass, it can save a lot.

I think that youth will be more able to join programs and extracurricular activities that are far from home. Students consider transportation and fares as problems in joining activities. With the Youth Pass, we will save money and can join other activities that will enhance our academics. It’s also important for seniors like me. I’m going on campus tours at colleges in Boston and I also need to save money for college and books.

I would like for the pilot to be really successful with the 1,500 young people. I want everyone to experience it, to be able to have extracurricular activities and do the things that they want. Especially students – they need money for other necessities. I hope the Youth Pass will be permanent so that youth can access it. I want people to support the pass. To the 1,500 students – I want people to take advantage of it and show that youth need the Youth Pass.