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Half-Priced MetroCards Are Now Available for Low-Income New Yorkers, Critics Argue Too Few Are Eligible

(Photo: iStock)

Jan. 4, 2019 By Christian Murray

The half-priced MetroCard program for low-income New Yorkers kicked off today with a joint press conference held by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson to mark the occasion.

The program will provide discounted MetroCards to working New Yorkers who live at or below the federal poverty line and are currently receiving cash assistance or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from the city.

This month, 30,000 New Yorkers—those who receive cash assistance from the city– will be eligible for the cards. The pool of eligible recipients is expected to expand in April to about 130,000 people, when it starts including those who receive federal food stamps (SNAP) and are working.

The program subsidizes weekly and monthly unlimited metro cards—which can be used on the New York City subway and non-express buses. Half priced unlimited weekly passes cost $16, while a 30-day unlimited pass is $60.50.

The city is working with the MTA to phase in a pay-per-ride option.

The New York City Department of Social Services has started notifying those eligible for the cards. They are being advised to go to a designated office to pick up their “Fair Fares NYC MetroCard.”

Once they get the card, they can add funds at any MTA vending machine, which is programmed to charge half price.

De Blasio lauded the program, which was announced last spring by the city council and mayor. The program is expected to cost the city $106 million this year.

“New Yorkers shouldn’t have to choose between a ride on the subway or bus and their next meal,” De Blasio said. “Our partnership with the Council for fair fares will make our city stronger and fairer for low-income New Yorkers whose lives depend on mass transportation.”

“Fair Fares will open up this city and its promise to people who currently are being shut out because they can’t afford a swipe. It will change lives for the better,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

The program has faced some criticism for not going far enough, since 800,000 New Yorkers live below the poverty line and most will not quality. The federal poverty line is $25,000 a year for a family of four.

“The good news is that Fair Fares is finally leaving the station. The bad news is that after today’s announcement, the price of a MetroCard will remain an obstacle for the vast majority of the 800,000 New Yorkers who were originally promised relief,” Stringer said.

“That’s hundreds of thousands of families who will struggle to get to work or a job interview because they can’t afford a full fare. For their sake, we need to make sure this delay doesn’t become a derailment.”

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20 Comments

liaza

i dont pay steaks i worked and paid taxes and i needed help i didnt qualify because im white meanwhie all these minrotites get everything

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Jim

Right Sara,

Let me get this straight. You saw some people do this therefore no one should get discount fairs? Some people abuse things and many do not. What was this, like .00001% of the SNAP population that you witnessed. Maybe I should judge you for your lack of understanding statistics.

I get it. Poor people should stick to rice and beans because they are poor and they should know their place because you pay for them. They love going into stores giving a cashier a SNAP card with people like you looking down on them. Let me tell you, these people feel worthless already. They don’t need you to make them feel worse.

How about the 60% of the population that is overweight and costs the economy billions a year. We should go after those people.

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Pat McNamara

For someone insulting another’s grasp of statistics you fall pretty short of the mark yourself. New York has a 26% obesity rate. https://stateofobesity.org/adult-obesity/
Where did you get the numbers to substantiate your claims? How do you know these “poor people” feel shame? I see plenty of them in my local supermarket on 31st Avenue. Very well dressed loading up their shopping cart. They appear to have zero shame. Homonyms aren’t your strong suit either. The article is about reduced “fares” not “fairs”. Quit insulting others when you are a complete reject yourself.

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Jim

Pat McNamara, I did not say OBESE, I said OVERWEIGHT so I guess reading isn’t your strong suit. 🙂

And I got the numbers wrong, it is 75% men 60% women for the entire country. I am sure NYC has similar numbers.

http://www.healthdata.org/news-release/vast-majority-american-adults-are-overweight-or-obese-and-weight-growing-problem-among

You see plenty of “them”. So what percentage of the total population of “those people” did you see? They should work harder to find a “I’m poor, but not disgusting” outfit that doesn’t look too nice for you.

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Pat McNamara

If you want to engage in semantics feel free to do so. I don’t make up statistics like you choose to. Nor do I portray them as some misfits in a Dickensian backdrop. Far from it. When you are wearing a brand new leather coat (you must love the smell of new leather) while talking on your new Iphone 1ox you clearly have enough spare cash around to get all gussied up to buy groceries on the taxpayer’s tab. Considering they don’t work at all, or maybe they work off the books to dodge paying taxes, I sincerely doubt they could “work” to portray themselves as the bedraggled, impoverished, downtrodden depressed citizens your feel they are. On the contrary slick Willie DiBlasio now wants to give more people “FREE HEALTHCARE”! Isn’t that amazing. So while you go to the Coinstar to get cash for your loose change to make ends meet, your suffering, “impoverished” neighbors are laughing at you. Or do you not have any shame?

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Jim

What percentage of the the total SNAP recipient population have you witnessed or what is the total number over the last year? This is an honest question. I want to see what sample set we are working with so we can stick to the facts.

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Eleni

What is your point ? Is it some people abuse the program? Yeah, it happens. Is it everyone abuses the program because of your observation at one super market ?

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Mary

To qualify for SNAP you have to net $990 a month ($11,800 per year). That is incredibly low . Then you get $129 for food. Of course there is fraud (like when that Ultra Orthodox Jewish group was busted) , but jesus…how can you make the requirements any lower?!?

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Mary

How close are you to people in the grocery line that you smell their leather coat? That’s weird dude.

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tommers

Hey Pat the words obese and overweight have different meanings. How about you pick up a dictionary and learn how to use it before embarrassing yourself again.

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Mike the Man

Not to split hairs here, but obese is not the same as overweight. It is not an issue of semantics. They have two different meanings.

Sara Ross

I love seeing people at my supermarket pay for steaks, fish (not on sale), soda and brand name items (store brands too beneath their standards?) with NYS benefit cards and SNAP with my tax dollars and get discounted metrocards with the $121 I pay every month, These same people have Beats headphones and air Jordan sneakers that never seen to get dirty. I’m sick of supporting everybody.

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MF

You do love it? Whether they pizz the money away on one expensive item or ten pounds of beans, it comes to the same thing. The person gets the same amount in food stamps regardless, so he can have the steak and go hungry.

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c

I’ve only ever seen women buying baby formula with SNAP and women having to decide between food for her family or maxi pads. I don’t wish that kind of life on anybody and I’m willing to support programs that help those people who need it. Maybe you should work the grocery till and see what people are really buying with your tax dollars and then you can question their choices.

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Jen

you cant buy headphones with food stamps, halfwit. They may have been a gift. They may have bought them with a Xmas check or their own $$. Who are you to judge?

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Mary

You can buy used Beats headphones for $30 online.
But please Sara, don’t let this get in the way of you looking down on poor people.

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Paul Kersey

She didn’t call them poor. She expressed clear disdain for those who give off the appearance of wealth while using benefits cards to purchase items at a grocery store. When one flouts new headphones, sneakers, clothing, it doesn’t give off the impression of being “poor. As a result one might be jarred by seeing someone so “put together” whipping out a benefits card to pay for their items at the market. In today’s foaming at the mouth response to contrarian beliefs perhaps you need to take off your rose colored glasses…

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tommers

How about you people just mind your business instead of worrying about how people pay for their food. Many of these people who receive snap have worked before and have paid taxes into the system just like you… perhaps even more that you have paid.. and their tax dollars helps pays for all of it just like yours. How about worrying how your tax dollars are used to pay for killing people in other countries instead of worrying about people eat. Your support of murder versus eating.

If you were a decent caring folk you might be worrying about how pathetic snap benefits actually are and how anyone can possibly survive on them. You would be arguing benefits should be massively increased. But no, you don’t really care about people and just use this as an excuse to express anger about your unsatisfactory life .. and with some of you, your sociopathy. I bet a good more than 1/2 of you probably support that NPD case in the WH who may probably do real worldwide damage yet beyond what’s already occured. It’s a shame the supporters can’t be held accountable for it.

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Anonymous

Why should I argue that benefits be increased for able bodied people when unemployment is at its lowest in decades? Go out and get another job! Better yet stop having children you CAN’T AFFORD! To top that, MOVE AWAY from one of the most expensive cities in the country.

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