Press Release

Fair Fares Coalition Hails City Council’s Strong Leadership and Endorsement of Fair Fares in Budget Response

Social Justice, Anti-Poverty and Transportation Advocates Celebrate City Council Call for Full Funding of Vital Fair Fares Program

New York, NY--The Fair Fares Coalition of 68 social justice, anti-poverty, labor, civil rights and transportation advocacy organizations thanked New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and his colleagues for their powerful statement today in favor of reduced-price transit fares for low-income New Yorkers. The coalition released the following statements in response to the City Council response to the mayor's preliminary budget. The Council's response endorsed full funding for the Fair Fares initiative, which would make as many as 800,000 low-income New Yorkers eligible for a half-price Metrocard.

David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society, said:

“Today the City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson, took a major step toward making our public transit system more accessible and equitable for New Yorkers who rely on it the most, the working poor. The Council’s budget proposal to fully fund half-priced bus and subway fares for working-age New Yorkers with incomes at or below poverty takes dead aim at the city’s affordability crisis, offering relief to hundreds of thousands of low-income New Yorkers struggling to get to work, commute to college, to medical appointments and home to their families. It will save poor transit riders $726 annually off the cost of a monthly MetroCard, a real and effective means of removing barriers to opportunities and expanding economic mobility for our neediest residents. We’ve heard a lot of lofty rhetoric about making New York the “fairest big city in America.” But it’s far better when our leaders back up their words with action.”

John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance, said:

"Today's budget response is a bold statement for transit justice. Thanks to Speaker Johnson and his colleagues, New York is now a big step closer to cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Toronto that have adopted Fair Fares.  With this year's budget approaching $90 billion, spending $200 million to make life fairer for our 800,000 neighbors living in poverty would represent a worthy and strategic investment by city government in a fairer New York."

Coalition members and allies in elected office, including Speaker Johnson, Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, will rally at City Hall on Wednesday, April 11, at 10 am to make the argument directly to Mayor Bill de Blasio that Fair Fares belong in this year's budget, due to be adopted in June.

For more than 170 years, the Community Service Society of New York has been the leading voice on behalf of low-income New Yorkers and continues to advocate for the economic security of the working poor in the nation’s largest city. We respond to urgent, contemporary challenges with applied research, advocacy, litigation and innovative program models that help the working poor achieve a better quality of life and promote a more prosperous city. Visit us at www.cssny.org

The Riders Alliance is a grassroots organization of subway and bus riders pushing for better service at affordable fares and a stronger public investment in mass transit. Visit us at ridersny.org

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