New York City Will Cut Transit Fares for Low-Income Riders

It’s financial redistribution in a capital of income inequality.

When Manny A. lost his job in 2016, finding a new one became a literally distant prospect. For the immigrant contract worker living in Queens, riding the subway in New York City was really, really expensive: Fares currently stand at $2.75 per ride and $121 per monthly pass, rates that have steadily increased in recent years. While searching for work, Manny sometimes had to “decide either to buy a MetroCard or spend on food or rent,” according to a 2016 report by the Community Service Society of New York that highlighted his story. To get to gigs and job interviews, he’d beg police officers and station agents to give him a pass, the report stated.

Now, individuals like Manny appear to be on track for meaningful relief. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council speaker Corey Johnson have reached a deal, as of yet unannounced, to provide reduced-fare transit cards to low-income residents, the New York Times reported Thursday. Under the terms of the agreement, those living below the federal poverty line—a household income of about $25,000—would qualify for half-price MetroCards, according to unnamed sources who were briefed on the negotiation.

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