Fair Fares Program: More New Yorkers Qualify For Discounted MetroCards

Marla Diamond
January 27, 2020 - 2:41 pm

Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — More New Yorkers are eligible for discounted subway rides under the city’s expanded Fair Fares program.

Residents who lived below the federal poverty line can sign up for the program to receive discounted MetroCards during the open enrollment period that starts Monday.

Fare Fair MetroCards will cost $63.50, half the price of the regular monthly unlimited.

To qualify, you must be a New York resident between the ages of 18 and 64. A single person must earn no more than $12,760 per year to qualify and you must not already receive reduce price MetroCards.

Rhonda Jackson, a transit advocate who once lived in a shelter, says the program is crucial for the least fortunate in New York City and says most people can't imagine what it’s like not to be able to afford a MetroCard.

“Having to practically beg for a swipe when I was in the homeless shelter just to get a curfew,” she explains.

She signed up for the new program on Monday using her phone in just a matter of minutes.

During the first rollout of the program last year, 90,000 people applied. The city has set aside $212 million to fund the half-priced MetroCards.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson sounded confident that the program will continue to be renewed in the coming years.

“We're gonna see how many people have signed up as we get towards the June adoption date, and that's when we'll determine how much money we fight for in the budget for Fair Fares, but this is one of our signature achievements,” he said.

The program first included NYCHA residents, CUNY students, veterans and those receiving SNAP benefits when it began in January 2019.