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City Getting Closer To Deal On Fair Fares MetroCard Program

June 08, 2018 - 9:23 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The city is clsoe to a deal that would provide low income New Yorkers with reduced fare MetroCards.

The city will reportedly include $106 million in the budget for the first six months of the so-called Fair Fares program. It would be just the start of a program that City Council Speaker Corey Johnson wants to make permanent.

Speaking on NY1, Johnson said the money would go directly to the same benefits programs that aid low income New Yorkers with food and housing.

"This is really a poverty reduction program, that's how I look at it. I don't look at it as subsidizing the MTA, I look at it as helping people," Johnson said.

The city currently spends $120 million to provide discounted MetroCards to students, the elderly, and the disabled.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, it is estimated that 800,000 New Yorkers would qualify for the half-fare subway program by having a household income of $25,000 or less for a family of four.

But despite reports that a deal has been struck, the usually blunt and forthright speaker refused Friday to confirm a Fair Fare deal when Lamb spoke with him.

“I feel good about where things are, but negotiations continue, and I look forward to speaking to my colleagues and continuing to talk to the mayor, and I hope we have news sometime soon,” Johnson said.

But Johnson, a bulldozer of persuasion, made it clear that the Fair Fares program is his top priority.

“I am such a proponent of the proposal because I think it’s going to help so many low-income New Yorkers,” Johnson said. “People living in poverty actually have a chance to be a full citizen in New York City by being able to ride the subway when it works.”

He added, “I’m optimistic, but nothing’s done till it’s done.”

Many at City Hall believe a formal announcement will come on Monday.