When Mayor Bill de Blasio presents his new budget for New York, one Important piece will be missing. And those NY citizens who take public transit won’t be happy about it. AMNewYork reports that a proposal for discounted metro cards for low-income residents was omitted from the budget.
“Fair Fares will go on. I will fight it until my very last breath,” said David Jones, executive director of the Community Service Society of New York. “We’re taking this fight on for as many years — I’m on the board until 2020. So they’re going to be hearing from me for a long time.”
Supporters of the proposal argue that residents of the city should at least be able to afford travel at their leisure. Instead, many resort to jumping turnstiles and avoiding fares. Just last year, 24,591 people were arrested for doing just that. This is important since many are pursued by authorities after dodging the fees.
“In New York, geographic mobility is economic mobility,” said John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance. “But if people can’t afford public transit, none of those opportunities are available to them. … I think the question is: Is it legitimate to ask Mayor de Blasio to help New Yorkers get to work? I think it is.”
If approved, the proposal would cost $200 million per year but would offer discounted rates to as many as 800,000 residents.
“The proposal is a noble one but the mayor has been very clear: The MTA is the responsibility of the state and they should consider funding the program,” said Freddi Goldstein, a mayoral spokeswoman.