Proposal to Fund Half-Priced MetroCards  for Working-Age Poor Gains Support in City Council

Proposal to Fund Half-Priced MetroCards for Working-Age Poor Gains Support in City Council

Photo Courtesy

of the New York Foundation

By Forum Staff
Nearly three-dozen members of the City Council, including eight who represent Queens communities, have affirmed their support for a reduced transit fare program for New Yorkers below the poverty line and want it to be part of the legislative body’s response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Fiscal Year 2019 Preliminary Budget, advocacy groups announced Monday.
Thirty-five members signed a letter addressed to Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Finance Committee Chairman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) titled “New York City Council Members for Fair Fares,” in which they posit that “access to our subways and buses is a basic economic necessity for New Yorkers who rely on transit to get to work, school, doctors’ visits, and essential services. Yet a report by the Community Service Society found that one in four low-income, working-age New Yorkers cannot afford a MetroCard.”
The lawmakers indicate in the missive that the solution is Fair Fares.
“To be a truly progressive city, we should fund half-price MetroCards for New Yorkers living in poverty,” they wrote. “New York, which continues to face staggering levels of income inequality, cannot be the fairest city in America while hundreds of thousands of our neighbors have trouble accessing daily necessities because they cannot afford to take the bus or subway. Over the past year, Mayor de Blasio has evinced a clear understanding of the bar that full fares pose to so many New Yorkers’ participation in city life and struggle to rise out of poverty. We are confident, that where the Council leads, the mayor will follow and join us in weaving a vital new thread into our social safety net.”
The signatories argued that de Blasio is no stranger to what’s fair. Literally.
“Last summer, following our lead, Mayor de Blasio included $250 million for half-price MetroCards for 800,000 New Yorkers in his Fair Fix transit funding proposal to fix the subways. This winter, the mayor called in his State of the City address for New York to become the fairest city in the nation. He invoked the word ‘fair’ and its variants 42 separate times and again embraced a policy of half-price fares for low-income New Yorkers. Now it’s time for the city to lead.”
For freshman Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica) it’s about access for all.
“Giving residents affordable discounted MetroCards would make our buses and subways more accessible for so many,” Adams said. “We need to ensure that low-income New Yorkers can afford essential access to our transit system by supporting Fair Fares.”
Photo Courtesy
of the New York Foundation

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