Come 2016, more New Yorkers will have the opportunity to squint and scroll through the fine print of their employee benefit packages in search of a clause that will entitle them to a pre-tax MetroCard, delivered monthly by mail, slippery and un-smudged.
Starting next January, businesses across the city with more than 20 employees will be required to offer all workers a commuter tax break, for commuting expenses up to $130 per month.
N.B.: This does not mean that your boss is now required to hand you a free MetroCard, just that monthly commuter fees will be pulled from your pre-tax earnings.
But these savings add up—the News points out that one year of freshly-hiked $116.50 MetroCards, skimmed from pre-tax earnings, means $400 saved. For a more detailed breakdown of your savings, the Riders Alliance has created a commuter benefits savings calculator that spits out savings down to the dollar, depending on your commuting expenses.
According to the Riders Alliance, about 750,000 New Yorkers currently use the transit tax break. The new law will make 450,000 more employees eligible. The News reports that companies that don't explicitly offer the tax break by July 2015 will be fined $250.
Over the course of the next few months, the Department of Consumer Affairs will post bus stops, subway stations, and Amtrak and Path stations with poster ads clarifying the new law.
"Transit riders and employers can save hundreds of dollars a year with commuter benefits, but only if they know about the program," said Riders Alliance Director John Raskin in a statement. "The Department of Consumer Affairs are taking the right steps now to guarantee that when the transit benefits law goes into effect in January, the entire city will be ready to take advantage of it."