Mayor “Slow-Walks” Help for City’s Poorest Commuters

David R. Jones, Esq., President and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York | 1/10/2019, midnight
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s peculiar reluctance to embrace Fair Fares, half-priced MetroCards for the city’s lowest income families, was on ...
David R. Jones Contributed

By our estimates, nearly 800,000 low income New Yorkers would benefit from discounted transit fares. New Yorkers need reduced fares now, especially with the prospect of another fare hike in March, that could well bring a round-trip ride to $6. New Yorkers need to get to work today, not next year. They need the substantial savings Fair Fares will provide to pay the rent, so they don’t become tomorrow’s homeless.

I sincerely hope the mayor honors the commitment he made last June to fully fund half-priced fares for New York City residents with incomes at or below poverty. We may find out how serious the mayor’s commitment is next week when he releases his FY20 preliminary budget. Let’s hope it includes $212 million for a full year’s funding of Fair Fares.

Mayor de Blasio was elected with the overwhelming support of the city’s black and brown communities. He can point to several progressive policy accomplishments that have improved the lives of low-income New Yorkers, from expanding paid sick days and instituting Universal Pre-K to creating more affordable housing and improving workers’ rights.

But if he continues to drag his feet on the implementation of Fair Fares, he risks undermining his legacy and tarnishing the carefully cultivated image as America’s most progressive mayor.

Poor New Yorkers are counting on this mayor for half-fare MetroCards. Mayor de Blasio pledged to make New York the fairest big city in America. Now he needs to deliver on those words.

David R. Jones, Esq., is President and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York (CSS), the leading voice on behalf of low-income New Yorkers for more than 170 years and a member of the MTA Board. The views expressed in this column are solely those of the writer. The Urban Agenda is available on CSS’s website: www.cssny.org.