NYC Mayor Eric Adams, NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, and New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Molly Wasow Park announced today.
They announced a substantial investment and an expansion of eligibility to the Fair Fares transit discount to help make the program more accessible to more New Yorkers. The Fair Fares program gives eligible New Yorkers with low incomes a 50 percent discount on buses and trains.
“New York City has recovered all of the nearly 1 million jobs lost during the pandemic, and public transit is a key component of building on that momentum and ensuring that our recovery continues to be inclusive for working families,” said Mayor Adams. “The $20 million we are investing — in partnership with the City Council — coupled with the program expansion will ensure even more New Yorkers can keep more money in their pockets while making the Fair Fares program — and our city’s public transportation system — more accessible, so additional New Yorkers can utilize this critical discount to commute to work, visit friends and family, access medical care, get to class, and enjoy all our great city has to offer. I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to go online and apply to join.”
“Expanding access to our city’s public transit system is vital to helping New Yorkers access opportunities and meet their basic obligations,” said Speaker Adams. “The expansion of Fair Fares eligibility to more riders is an important step that the council advocated for and secured in the budget together with Mayor Adams’ administration. With so many New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet amidst an affordability crisis, we encourage all eligible New Yorkers take advantage of the Fair Fares program. The city must continue pursuing expanded eligibility to truly ensure this critical benefit reaches people in need of affordable transit access, who can benefit from the opportunities the program helps unlock. I look forward to working with my colleagues, advocates, and all stakeholders to continue our efforts to make public transit more affordable and accessible to all.”
“We all swipe our metro cards or tap our phones to enter the subway or take a bus ride. The expansion of Fair Fares helps offset that cost for more New Yorkers so they can move about the city with more ease and continue to build toward a stronger financial future for themselves and their families,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom.
“Hundreds of thousands of low-income New Yorkers are already saving on transit costs through DSS’s Fair Fares program, and as a result of this expansion of the program’s income eligibility standards, many more will soon be spending less on transit costs and saving more for themselves,” said DSS Commissioner Park. “Our public transit system is one of the greatest benefits New York City has to offer, and it is crucial that access to this benefit is fair and equitable so every New Yorker can get to where they need to go. The Fair Fares program helps our low-income neighbors do just that, and we look forward to helping newly eligible New Yorkers enroll in the program.”
“Mobility is a critical piece of equity. When New Yorkers can navigate our city more easily and affordably, that means they have better access to jobs, health care, friends and family, and cultural enrichment,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We thank Mayor Adams, Commissioner Park, and DSS, as well as our numerous sister agencies for their support of working-class New Yorkers through this important expansion of the Fair Fares program.”
“Fair Fares is crucial for providing affordable access to New Yorkers who depend on transit to get to move around the city,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority Acting Chief Customer Officer Shanifah Rieara. “Increasing the program’s eligibility rate is a win for the city, the transit system, and the countless customers who will now benefit.”
The city is investing an additional $20 million into the program to expand eligibility to more New Yorkers, on top of the $75 million the Adams administration and City Council already baselined for Fair Fares in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget. Additionally, the administration, as part of its budget agreement with the City Council, has implemented a rule change increasing the program’s income eligibility standard for the first time — raising it to 120 percent of the federal poverty level, a 20 percent increase over the prior standard. Previously, the Fair Fares discount was available only to New Yorkers between 18 and 64 years old with incomes at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level.
The expansion brings the total baseline funding of Fair Fares to $95 million annually beginning in FY24. This additional funding will ensure that DSS can effectively and efficiently connect newly eligible New Yorkers to Fair Fares, while continuing to provide discounted fares to existing clients. Currently, more than 300,000 New Yorkers are enrolled in the Fair Fares program. Due to the new expansion, many additional low-income New Yorkers will now qualify for the program’s 50 percent discount on subway and eligible bus fares or MTA Access-A-Ride paratransit trips.
New Fair Fares income limits per household size.
DSS continues to work with other city agencies, elected officials, and community-based organizations to promote the Fair Fares program and connect eligible New Yorkers to discounted fares through extensive outreach and education efforts. The Fair Fares transit discount is available to all New Yorkers who meet the eligibility criteria, including non-citizens. New Yorkers can visit the Fair Fares website to learn more and apply online.
“No New Yorker should have to choose between buying groceries and a subway card — it’s as simple as that,” said New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “Today’s expansion of the crucial Fair Fares program will help ensure financial accessibility for all to the system that millions and millions use to get where they need to be every day. I applaud the mayor for this expansion, and I look forward to seeing the impact this change will have on the lives of New Yorkers across the city.”
“With today’s $20 million investment in Fair Fares and dramatic expansion of eligibility, Mayor Adams is opening the doors of opportunity for the people of our city to get to school, work, healthcare services and all New York has to offer, all while still being able to put food on the table,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “At a time when 1 in 4 low-income New Yorkers have difficulty affording transit, today’s historic 20 percent increase in income eligibility will allow Fair Fares to uplift tens of thousands of more people. The expanded outreach will also allow us to reach New Yorkers who are eligible and tell them about the program. I look forward to partnering with Mayor Adams and DSS Commissioner Park to ensure that all New Yorkers can get where they need to be in a New York minute.”
“The Fair Fares program is a vital resource for so many New Yorkers, providing access to public transportation that many people use every single day,” said New York State Assemblymember Tony Simone. “Fair Fares ensures that public transit is exactly that: public and accessible for all. An expansion of $20 million for this crucial program will allow even more of our community to use our great public transportation to get where they need to go and keep our city moving.”
“Fair Fares is a critical program that expands access to our city’s public transit system and opens doors of opportunity for New Yorkers,” said Deputy City Council Speaker Diana Ayala, chair, Committee on General Welfare. “The council was proud to successfully advocate its expansion to reach New Yorkers with incomes at 120 percent of the federal poverty level, and all those eligible should take advantage of the program. I join my colleagues in government and advocates to remain committed to the expansion of Fair Fares to reach more low-income New Yorkers.”
“No New Yorker should be denied access to public transit because they cannot afford it,” said Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, chair, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Fair Fares is a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of residents for whom every dollar counts. I am proud to have advocated for the increase in baselined Fair Fares funding in the FY24 budget. This expansion of eligibility is a step toward ensuring more New Yorkers in need can access this crucial program, and I look forward to working with the administration toward further expansion of Fair Fares in the future.”
“Fair Fares is a vital public benefit for several hundred thousand New Yorkers and its growth is essential to economic security for working families,” said Danna Dennis, senior organizer, Riders Alliance. “The city’s additional investment of $20 million in a tight budget is a testament to the commitment of Speaker Adams, Council Transportation Chair Brooks-Powers, and Mayor Adams. Having seen how transformative the program has already proven, riders look forward to its continued robust expansion in the near future.”
“The Fair Fares transit discount program is a critical lifeline to education, employment, medical care and other basic necessities for low-income New Yorkers,” said David R. Jones, president and CEO, Community Service Society of New York. “With that in mind, Mayor Adams and the City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Adams, included an additional $20 million for the program in the FY24 adopted city budget while expanding income eligibility for the program from 100 to 120 percent of the FPL. By doing so, the mayor and speaker made it possible for more low-income New Yorkers to take advantage of the program. The next step should be to make Fair Fares available to those with incomes under 200 percent of the FPL – a large swath of whom are working class New Yorkers who rely on the transit system to get to work, school, medical appointments and economic opportunities.”
“Transit prices are often not just $2.90 when traveling around New York City. There are express buses, transfers, and more that add to that cost- making it near impossible for our hardest-working New Yorkers to just get to the job they need and back home to their families affordably,” said New York City Councilmember Amanda Farías, chair, Committee on Economic Development. “Fair Fares is the one program our city has that addresses those needs, and that is why, along with my colleagues, I advocated passionately for the eligibility requirements to be expanded. I am proud to see this expansion come to fruition under the leadership of Speaker Adams. I urge all New Yorkers to take advantage of this opportunity and I look forward to now being able to sign more of our neighbors in District 18 up for this program.”