Under mounting pressure from transit advocates, the MTA has agreed to test out a new reduced-fare option for commuters living in Brooklyn and Southeast Queens, according to the Brooklyn borough president's office. The so-called "Freedom Ticket" pilot will temporarily instate a flat fee option for bus, subway and commuter rail travel within city limits. For one rate, a Freedom Ticket holder would travel from point A to B with unlimited free transfers.

The pilot, if successful, could be a boon for daily commuters living in so-called transit deserts, who are disproportionately low-income and often rely on lengthy commutes with multiple transfers. While the average New Yorker spends six hours and 18 minutes in transit each week, a recent study by the New York City Transit Riders Council found that residents in Southeast Queens spend, on average, more than twice that—approximately 15 hours.

According to City data, two thirds of New Yorkers who commute more than an hour in each direction make less than $35,000 per year.

"The MTA Board has been told we'd see the outline of the Freedom Ticket pilot in the spring, with expected implementation sometime this fall," said Andrew Albert, head of NYCTRC and a non-voting MTA board member. "There is wonderful rail infrastructure running through Brooklyn and southeast Queens, but unfortunately, it is priced beyond the reach of many residents."

While the cost of a single-ride freedom ticket has yet to be confirmed, a spokesman for Borough President Eric Adams, whose office issued a celebratory press release Wednesday, said the ticket would represent savings for commuters who would otherwise purchase separate tickets for the subway and commuter rails. Daily, weekly, and monthly options would likely exceed MetroCard rates.

NYCTRC estimated in late 2015 that a one-way Freedom Ticket might cost $6.50. That's more expensive than a local bus or subway commute, but nearly half the price of the LIRR-to-subway transfer—the most efficient commute option from Southeast Queens to Penn Station, clocking in under 40 minutes.

LIRR stations participating in the pilot would likely include Atlantic Terminal, East New York, and Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, and Laurelton, Locust Manor, Rosedale, and St. Albans in Queens, according to Albert.

"Cross-Brooklyn travel is going to get massive hits with the M-train viaduct closures, and then in 2019 with the L train shutdown," Albert told Gothamist. He envisions regular L train riders taking the LIRR two stops from East New York to Barclays Center, a major subway transfer point.

LIRR spokesman Aaron Donovan said he could not confirm the Freedom Ticket pilot timeframe. "This is a field study, for select LIRR stations in Brooklyn and Queens," he said. "We haven't yet announced the timeline for when it would take place."

But Albert stood by the fall rollout. "That's what we've been told unofficially," he said.

According to his organization's 2015 report, just shy of 20,000 LIRR seats are empty on an average peak trip from Jamaica to Penn Station. Therefore, Albert argues, there's room on the commuter rail to accommodate significant switchover. Filling empty seats could potentially help the MTA recoup losses from offering a discounted fare.