Details about how the city will implement its recently passed half-priced MetroCard program, Fair Fares, came out of at Tuesday's MTA board meeting. The program, which aims to provide discounted MetroCards for New Yorkers living at or below the federal poverty level, will start by offering only 7-day or 30-day passes at 50 percent off.
Single ride discounts will, notably, not be available when the program launches. Asked about the program's focus on higher-priced MetroCards, Rebecca Bailin, Political Director with Riders Alliance, told Gothamist, "I think that's a really positive first step. We're excited and hopeful that the city will make sure to expand this program within a year to everybody who qualifies. If this is going to be truly a low income benefit it must have a single ride pass option."
"We always envisioned riders being able to purchase any fare type at half price and hope that this flexibility is added as the program rolls out," David Jones, MTA board member and President and CEO of the Community Service Society, which advocated for the program, said in a statement. "Choice is important to all customers, especially for those who are financially constrained."
The MTA's Senior Vice President for Operations Support, Tim Mulligan, said at Tuesday's MTA board meeting that he thinks the program will be good for the agency.
"We're hopeful that this will bring new customers to the system and increase ridership, that would be great," he said.
The Fair Fares program is expected to start in January. It's being implemented by the city's Human Resources Administration, and discounted MetroCards will not look different than regular MetroCards.
"Details are still being worked out, and we look forward to working with the MTA and advocates to give discounted MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers and implement a plan that works for all," said Breeana Mulligan, a spokeswoman for the New York City Council.
Once the program goes into effect, the MTA said it will study the impact on fare evasion.