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New York, NY – The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council joined Speaker Corey Johnson, Riders Alliance and Community Service Society of New York on the steps of City Hall to advocate on behalf of Fair Fares. Fair Fares has been a top budget priority for the Progressive Caucus for a number of years, and yesterday, due to the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson, and the sustained advocacy of the Progressive Caucus, Riders Alliance, and allies, Fair Fares has been included in the Council’s budget response.

The Council’s Response recommended that the city pay $212 million to subsidize half-fare MetroCards for the 800,000 city residents living at or below the federal poverty line. No New Yorker should have to choose between subway fare and other essential living expenses. The Fair Fares program will help many New Yorkers access greater city resources, ensure equitable access to transportation, and encourage greater upward mobility.

“New York City’s working poor deserve respect. They should not have to jump turnstiles in order to have access to our public transportation system,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “If you make anything close to minimum wage, you have to put around three hours of pay aside every week just to afford to get to work. By funding half-priced MetroCards in the 2018 budget, we would bring much-needed equity to our City’s transportation system and increase opportunity for struggling New Yorkers.”

“It isn’t public transportation if people can’t afford the fare. I support funding reduced fares for all low-income New Yorkers. The economic and social benefits of Fair Fares proves it’s one of the smartest transit investments we can make,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Vice-Chair for Civic Engagement of the Progressive Caucus.

“I am proud to join the Community Service Society and Riders Alliance in urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to fund discounted metro cards for low-income New Yorkers,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, member of the Progressive Caucus. “The cost of a MetroCard should not inhibit New Yorkers from taking advantage of the economic opportunities our city has to offer. Furthermore, our current system penalizes those who can least afford it, charging more to riders who can’t cover the up-front cost of an unlimited MetroCard which would save them money in the long term. The Fair Fares Initiative will ensure that our transit system is equitable and accessible to all New Yorkers.”

“Making mass transit affordable to the New Yorkers who rely on it most should be our top priority. This of course means exploring ways to reduce fares for lower-income residents. And just as important, it means seriously addressing the MTA’s ever-increasing costs, which lead to frequent fare increases. Let’s get the MTA’s costs under control so we can focus on what truly matters – excellent subway and bus service that is accessible and affordable to all,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, member of the Progressive Caucus.

“I join my colleagues in the fight for ‘Fair Fares’ as part of this year’s budget. Half price bus and subway fares will be extremely helpful to low income New Yorkers who are generally most affected by Fare Beat arrests. This funding will alleviate that issue to some extent,” said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, member of the Progressive Caucus.

“People shouldn’t have to decide between their subway fare and their groceries,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, member of the Progressive Caucus. “All New Yorkers, especially those living below the poverty line, need to be able to take the bus or subway to appointments, work and school. As lawmakers, we can make Fair Fares a reality, guaranteeing half price MetroCards and ensuring access to transportation to some of our city’s most vulnerable.”

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