Advocates call for discounted MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers

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WOODSIDE, Queens – An advocacy group is calling on city politicians to give low-income New Yorkers a break on their MetroCard fares.

Community Service Society (CSS) unveiled their proposal Sunday. The Fair Fares campaign wants to allow 800,000 residents living below the poverty line to have access to half-price rides – bringing the cost of a single ride from $2.75 to about $1.40. That would save those residents up to $700 a year, the group said.

It would cost the city about $200 million. Suggested ways to pay for the program include higher gas surcharges and new bridge tolls, CSS said.

Adopting such a move would put the five boroughs in line which Seattle and San Francisco, where an income-based discount applies to public transit passes.

In a survey conducted by CSS, 28 percent of low-income New Yorkers said they or someone in their home has “often been unable to afford subway and bus fares” during the last year.

A quarter of low-income respondents said the cost of transit fares has prevented them from getting medical care.

The proposal is being mulled by city leaders.