Starting in January under New York City's new Fair Fares program the MTA will be giving half priced 7-day and 30-day cards to lower-income New Yorkers. They will not be available at MTA machines or subway stations instead will have to go through the city government. Although exact details on how to go about this are still unclear.
"We are excited to participate in this program. The primary purpose is providing access," said NYC Transit Operations Executive Tim Mulligan. "We're hopeful that this will bring new customers to the system and increased ridership."
When it is fully implemented the fare program will cost the city $212 million annually.
"The concern we have with the weekly and monthly fare cards is our research shows that 22% of riders at or below poverty say they prefer purchasing round-trip single fare cards or bonus fares,” said Jeff Maclin, spokesman for the anti-poverty group the Community Service Society of New York. “So having flexibility to buy any fare type at a discount is important, especially when every dollar counts."
David Jones, an MTA board member, an outspoken Fair Fares supporter, and president of the Community Service Society did predict a spike in weekend riders because of the new program.
"We should look for that, because for many low-income people, the notion of taking them and their kids, who are not covered for this, out to the park or anything on the weekend, become cost prohibitive,” he said.