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Transit-money saver on track for more riders in NYC

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(PIX11) -- New York City train and bus riders seem to be getting somewhat of a break.

On Tuesday, New York City Council approved a bill introduced by Council Member Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan). It requires businesses in the city to participate in a federal program that allows commuters to set aside pre-tax income for transit.

"This is an optional program today," says Council Member Garodnick. "There are businesses that take advantage of it, there are businesses that don't."

Employees can request their bosses enroll in the program. Hundreds of thousands in NYC already do. There is a pre-tax benefit also available to the employers.

The law requires participation for all New York City businesses with 20 or more employees. It would take effect in January 2016 to allow for any new tax implications and give business time to set up, officials say.

It's estimated typical riders using an unlimited monthly MTA MetroCard could save about $400. The price of that monthly card is $112.

Savings depend on the amount set aside and income level. The program is often administered on line through TransitChek and WageWorks, which provides a calculator to check your potential federal tax savings.

Riders Alliance, an advocacy group for riders in NYC, believes as many as 450,000 more people will become eligible.

“We’re supportive of measures that lower commuters’ costs and increase access to transit," says Wiley Norvell, Deputy Press Secretary to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. In order to become law, it needs his signature.