Half-price fares for low-income New Yorkers

On June 11, 2018, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson reached a deal to include full funding for Fair Fares in the city budget. Starting in January 2019, New Yorkers whose income is below the federal poverty line will qualify for half-price MetroCards.

The fight for Fair Fares began when data from CSS’s 2015 Unheard Third survey revealed that one in three low-income New Yorkers couldn’t afford subway or bus fare, with a disproportionate effect on low-income blacks and Latinos. This finding led to an in-depth investigation by CSS analysts Harold Stolper and Nancy Rankin, which showed that the high cost of fares was preventing low-income New Yorkers from meeting basic needs, like receiving medical care or taking a job further from home.

The campaign, co-led with Riders Alliance, concluded with the city allocating $106 million in the FY19 budget for the Fair Fares program, which will be available to about 800,000 New York City adults who live at or below the poverty line and do not already qualify for the half-fare for seniors and persons with disabilities. Those who enroll in the program are expected to save upwards of $700 per year in transportation expenses.

CSS thanks Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson for making Fair Fares a reality and Riders Alliance for championing this campaign alongside CSS.

Learn more about Fair Fares here.

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