NYC transit agency says it won't cut kids' free bus, subway passes despite $800M budget gap

NEW YORK (AP) — The agency that runs New York City's massive bus and subway system says it has decided to abandon a proposal to eliminate free transit passes for students.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board in December reluctantly approved an $11 billion budget that included plans to cut service and leave children without MetroCards for free and discounted rides to public schools. It was trying to close an $800 million budget gap.

Residents complained at public hearings. And last week about 1,000 high school students marched across the Brooklyn Bridge in protest.

The MTA said Friday it heard them "loud and clear." It says it believes children shouldn't have to pay to travel to school. It says it's been trying to save money by reducing administrative staff and overtime and renegotiating with suppliers.