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Students Storm State House For Hearing on Lower Fares

By Philip M. Cronin

More than 2,500 students, led by a brass band, descended on the State House yesterday for a hearing on a proposed bill to reduce commuters' fares. Almost every college in Greater Boston, including Harvard, was represented.

The committee's report on House Bill 416, presented by Belden G. Bly of Saugus, probably will not be ready until next week. If the bill does pass both the Committee and House, every college student could travel within the state for half price, provided that they are going to or from their homes.

Several colleges permitted students to miss classes to attend. Boston University students, 1,000 strong, paraded through down-town Boston to the hearing. Jack L. Whittaker '50 represented the Dudley Commuters at the session, but did not arrive in time to speak.

Speaking in favor of the bill, several B.U. students said that the present fares, particularly on the Metropolitan Transit Authority, are too high for many students.

A representative from Simmons College declared the 30 cents a day fare on the M.T.A. is so high that many students go without their lunches to pay for it.

In the middle of the hearing, a petition signed by 1,500 students from Harvard, B.U., and several other colleges and another signed by ten legislators were presented in the bill's favor.

Willis B. Downey, General Counsel for the M.T.A., opposed the bill. He pointed out that the line has had heavy deficits in the past and thought these deficits would return if commuter fares are reduced.

He also thought many abuses would develop from the system. A member of the committee asked him whether or not it was true that students in two State-owned schools received tickets at half fare. His refusal to answer this question brought much stamping and hissing which was silenced only by frantic efforts of policemen.

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