NEW YORK (PIX11) — The cost of commuting can add up in New York City.

Low-income New Yorkers can apply for help paying fares, and advocates are working to enroll more riders. The program is called Fair Fares. It is operated and funded by the city of New York.

The New York City Council and the Riders Alliance want to see more people signing up, and they are calling for the income eligibility to be raised.

It’s currently defined by the federal poverty level, which is about $12,000 a year for an individual and about $25,000 for a family of four. The proposal would effectively double that and raise the income limits.

“We are not talking about extras. We are talking about necessities. There’s a large gap of the working poor who don’t qualify for the usual resources,” said Danna Dennis with the Riders Alliance.

The program is currently a line item in the city budget and has been since 2019.

Expansion would require an additional $61.5 million of baseline funding for the Fair Fares program, bringing the total baseline budget for Fair Fares to $136.5 million.

“Expanding Fair Fares to include New Yorkers at 200% of the federal poverty level is a critical step forward to becoming a truly accessible city. Up to 1.7 million New Yorkers would be eligible for discounted fares that would boost MTA ridership at this critical time. I join Riders Alliance, the Community Service Society, and all those urging the Administration to expand Fair Fares with greater eligibility and funding so more New Yorkers can affordably access public transit and inject dollars into our city’s economy,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams.

Donovan Richards is the Queens Borough President.

“We want to see the investments happening,” Richards said. “We want to eliminate the police from arresting people for fare evasion. This allows low-income New Yorkers to get the discounted MetroCard,” he said.

The MTA supports the city program and is working to make sure people know where to get information online and at their new customer service centers.