NEW YORK (PIX11) — The cost of commuting is increasing in New York City, and a program called Fair Fares allows city residents at certain set income levels to ride the bus and subway for half the price.
During this year’s city budget cycle, efforts have been underway to expand eligibility by changing the set income levels.
Currently, a family of four making $30,000 or less could qualify. The change would raise the eligibility to 200% of the federal poverty level.
At the corner of Fulton and Nostrand in Brooklyn on Tuesday, transit advocates with the Riders Alliance and NYC Council Member Chi Ossé were spreading the word about the program and proposed expansion.
“By increasing the accessibility, we are allowing more people to travel without being burdened by the economy,” said Ossé.
The city program started in 2019. During this year’s city budget negotiations, income eligibility and federal poverty levels have become part of Mayra Aldas’s conversation with Riders Alliance.
“We are talking about a family of four with an income of $60,000. That’s more like NYC. The cost of living here is not the same as in other cities and states,” she said.
A spokesperson for the NYC Department of Social Services says the Adams administration baselined funding for the first time, assuring the program’s sustainability.
“We want as many New Yorkers as possible to take advantage of Fair Fares and will evaluate additional needs through the budget process,” a spokesperson told PIX11.
The council, mayor’s office, and MTA are also working to publicize the existing program.
Currently, about 750,000 people are eligible. Less than half have signed up.
The new guidelines would expand that to 1.7 million New York City residents.
The budget is due by the end of June.