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Cuomo blocks change that would double free transfers on MetroCards

NEW YORK — The state senate and assembly voted to give MTA riders a second free transfer, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo shot the bill down with a veto this week.

Cuomo blocked a similiar bill in 2015, saying it would be too expensive. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), the sponsor of this version of the bill, argued it’s needed to help New Yorkers dealing with cuts in service. The bill, if it had been signed into law, would have allowed two free transfers within two hours of the original swipe.

“Bus service is in steady decline. Many low income New Yorkers are trapped in transit deserts and face lengthy commutes with multiple transfers,” Dinowitz tweeted. “We need a second transfer to help the most disadvantaged among us.”

Cuomo, in his veto message, said the bill had “significant fiscal, policy and technical flaws.” All hope is not lost for New Yorkers hoping for extra transfers though. Cuomo requested the MTA expand the free-transfer policy specifically to help riders affected by service disruptions.

“The  recommended changes will ensure that customers of MTA who have paid for a trip with a MetroCard can complete their trips without paying additional fare during major  reductions  in  service  –  whether  those changes are planned or unplanned,” he said.

MTA workers will be able to distribute manual tickets good for an extra subway or bus trip during unplanned service disruptions.