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Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson Announce More Than 50,000 New Yorkers Now Enrolled in Fair Fares Program

June 5, 2019

Online enrollment option through City’s ACCESS HRA app exponentially increased participation

NEW YORK–– Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Johnson today announced that more than 50,000 New Yorkers have enrolled in the City’s Fair Fares program- an unprecedented effort to address poverty through the development of a half-priced MetroCard program for low-income New Yorkers. Following the launch of the online platform in April, which introduced the option to sign up for Fair Fares through the City’s Access HRA application, participation increased dramatically, with more than 70 percent of current enrollees opting in digitally, including through the mobile and web applications.

“Using mass transit to get around is central to the lives of New Yorkers – struggling to afford it shouldn’t be. 50,000 New Yorkers now have access to a half-priced Metrocard thanks to this innovative partnership with the Council and I look forward to growing the program even further,” said Mayor de Blasio.

“Working New Yorkers living in poverty need help. Fair Fares is an unprecedented program designed to ease their burden. The Council, which fought hard to enact Fair Fares, is proud that 50,000 New Yorkers have enrolled. We look forward to serving and assisting more low-income families in the months to come because we understand that for some people, the cost of a swipe is unmanageable,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

The Department of Social Services continues to conduct outreach to eligible New Yorkers who are receiving cash assistance and/or SNAP benefits to inform them of their eligibility, including sending notifications, making telephone calls, implementing a targeted awareness campaign, and alerting HRA clients via their digital Access HRA accounts. To provide eligible New Yorkers with even more options, the City launched the pay-per-ride option in March, enabling those in need to obtain single fares.

Starting this fall, the City will expand the program to eligible New Yorkers in NYCHA, enrolled students at CUNY and student veterans at or below 100 percent of poverty line.

“As a national leader addressing poverty, our City continues to find innovative ways to empower working and low-income families and individuals,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “In New York, we’re making important progress leveling the playing field by connecting eligible New Yorkers to more affordable transportation, helping access opportunity and making it easier to meet essential needs—all part of our comprehensive efforts to make New York the fairest big city in the nation.”

"Fair Fares was a good idea for working adults and single mothers especially that are working! As you know, the MTA prices keep increasing, so this program was right on time. This program is saving me half the price of bus and train rides! It’s a good program. It's about time," said Tamika Velez, Fair Fares recipient.

“The program is wonderful. I’ve already purchased two weekly cards and will purchase a monthly card next week. It’s especially good because I only have to pay $63.50,” said Joshua Sabeter, Fair Fares recipient.

“After years of fighting for Fair Fares and a mass transit system that is more affordable and accessible for the city’s lowest income residents, it’s good to see real progress being made extending half-priced bus and subway fares to more eligible New Yorkers,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society.  “We applaud Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson for their efforts to advance the program and look forward to marking future milestones in the implementation of this important anti-poverty initiative as it is fully rolled out to the hundreds of thousands in need.”

John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance, said, "Just a few months after the launch of the program, Fair Fares is already changing thousands of people's lives, and it's making New York a more just and equitable city. Public transit means access to jobs and education and opportunity, and Fair Fares is helping make that promise a meaningful reality for thousands of people who have been left behind. Speaker Johnson and Mayor de Blasio deserve credit for getting this program on track and for doing the hard work required to make sure thousands of people are able to take advantage of it. We look forward to working with the City on the next important phase, which is to guarantee that everyone living below poverty can sign up for Fair Fares."

In January 2020, the City plans to launch an open enrollment process for all eligible New Yorkers at or below the Federal Poverty line who don’t have discounted transportation from the MTA or the City. Those who were previously enrolled in the program and are still eligible will be able to recertify and receive the benefit again. All other eligible applicants will be able to apply through an online platform.
Eligible New Yorkers can opt-in via the Access HRA mobile or web application, visit the nearest Fair Fares NYC location, or sign up by mail to receive their half-priced MetroCard. Eligible recipients can also call 311 for assistance receiving their card.

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