New York City is promising funding for Fair Fares, a program that offers MetroCards at a 50% discount to low income New Yorkers.
On Monday, February 14th, Mayor Eric Adams and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams announced that $75 million will be allocated in the upcoming 2023 budget. The Fair Fares program originally had a $106 million budget but was introduced with little promotion. Potential users for the program didn't even know about it. Then during the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio cut the funding to $41 million.
"The Council remains committed to returning the program to its original funding level, and if uptake of the program reaches the budgeted amount before the end of the fiscal year, additional funds should be made available to meet the transportation needs of New Yorkers," Speaker Adams said in a statement, also addressing that more outreach needs to be done to get people participating in the program.
David Jones, CEO of the Community Service Society and a board member of the MTA, said that he's happy about the program but insists the city needs to take action to market it. His statement, "The Fair Fares program is a lifeline for low-income New Yorkers struggling with transit affordability. Our research shows that awareness of the program is low citywide, with only 35 percent of eligible New Yorkers taking advantage of it."
More details on the program here.