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Fair Fares Program – Eligibility Standard Change

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Rule status: Adopted

Agency: HRA

Effective date: December 16, 2023

Proposed Rule Full Text

Adopted Rule Full Text

Adopted rule summary:

The New York City Human Resources Administration (“HRA”) is adopting and amendment to the Fair Fares program that increases the income eligibility standard from 100 percent of the federal poverty level to 120 percent.

Comments are now closed.

Online comments: 18

  • Pedro Valdez-Rivera

    Good morning everyone. My name is Pedro Valdez-Rivera. I’m a NYCHA Bed-Stuy resident since January 2016 and a Riders Alliance member since June 2013. Although me and my disabled mother are having Fair Fares, my family siblings and my niece who are working are not eligible for Fair Fares because they’re 100% above the Federal Poverty Line. This causes me and my family to make very tough financial decisions during inflation, such as either by necessities such as food or paying the full fare per ride on our respective MetroCards. This is currently applying every single day. However, the good news is the rise of the Federal Poverty Line from 100% to 120% gives me and my family some relief. By the end of the day, I demanded Mayor Adams and the HRA to increase the Federal Poverty Line to 200%, so my working-class siblings are eligible. Thank you so much.

    Comment added September 8, 2023 4:21pm
  • Kristi Ramdial

    Expand the fair fares program it should be for all New York City residents. We are not asking for money or housing or handouts it’s just a fair fare metrocard.

    Comment added September 10, 2023 9:42pm
  • Derrick Holmes

    In brief: Raising Fair Fares eligibility to just 120% of the poverty level will not allow the program to reach its full potential. I ask that you please consider updating the rules to allow those earning up to 200% of the poverty level to qualify for half-price transit.

    Right now, working New Yorkers are struggling to afford basic necessities as living expenses continue to rise including housing, child care, and transit costs.

    Now, with the new fare hike to $2.90 arriving in August, transit has become even less affordable for the working poor commuters that depend on transit everyday. That’s why it’s so important for the Fair Fares program to be as useful and accessible as possible for working New Yorkers who will once again be told they “make too much” to qualify at 120% of the poverty level.

    At 120%, the single mother of 2 that earns $35,000 a year will “make too much”. The family of 4 with a single breadwinner earning $50,000 will “make too much”. Essentially all working New Yorkers will still make too much, meaning the program will spend another year severely underutilized with millions of dollars lying dormant when that does not have to be the case with a simple change to allow more working poor New Yorkers to qualify.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Comment added September 12, 2023 10:26am
  • Kristin guest

    It’s insane that someone living on 18,000$ a year doesn’t qualify for reduced fare!! Look at the average price of rent or groceries. No wonder people jump the turnstile! Pay the subway or pay for food? There should be a poverty line established for NYC because it is clearly not the same as in Wyoming! I support expanding reduced fares.

    Comment added September 13, 2023 9:19am
  • Shairi Turner

    The cost of living is getting higher and higher and working class New Yorkers need as much support as we can get. I want to support expanding the fair fare eligibility to 200% of the federal poverty limit.

    Comment added September 13, 2023 1:56pm
  • Philipp Ueberfellner

    I’ve had fair fares for the past 2 years and it has helped a lot. However on trying to renew it this time it seems the income limit to qualify has been lowered! My income has not changed but it seems I’m ineligible now. I find it quite shocking that $18000 (pre taxes that is) is considered too much income to qualify for a reduced fare!
    Applying the national average to New York City residents makes no sense at all! Nobody can tell me that whoever makes the rules for this program is unaware of living costs in NYC. Especially when for other low income programs like housing $60k + is considered low income!
    I urge you to review and adjust your guidelines asap or you might as well get rid of the program altogether because at this point only the homeless can qualify!

    Comment added September 20, 2023 2:02pm
  • Brandon M Lowden

    The federal poverty level is an inadequate marker of the cost of living in NYC. This is such a basic and obvious truth that New Yorkers even approved a referendum in a recent election requiring the city to determine a more accurate calculation. When providing crucial transit to our most oppressed residents, why limit and means-test? What is the point, beyond cruelty? Who chose 120% as an arbitrary limit? Make it 200%, even 300%. Show courage, not cowardice.

    Comment added September 20, 2023 5:28pm
  • Delgado Corcoran

    120% increase is frankly not enough. When the mayor is using his power to force people back to corporate offices to stimulate the economy, so too does he force the service industry workers back. People who work tirelessly to supply this city, who do not make enough to afford their own apartment without fear, who cannot save, who earn a fraction of those people whose coffee they make and food they cook. Those are the people keeping this city alive, and so they should be supported by it: increasing the eligibility of the Fair Fares to 200% could be a huge step to helping them while they support the rest of us. Beyond peace of mind, it will give them a fighting chance. Thank you.

    Comment added September 21, 2023 11:31pm
  • Laura Beckman

    I have close friends in New York City who are hovering just over 120% of the poverty level, and the cost of commuting is a massive burden to them – people are faced with the choice of deciding between a subway ride and groceries. Given nyc’s already incredibly high cost of living an soaring rents, we must expand fair fares to 200%.

    Comment added September 22, 2023 1:26am
  • Travis Howard

    Expand fair fares! Raising the eligibility to 200% will help so many struggling New Yorkers who “make too much” at or around 120% of the federal poverty level. The Fair Fares program is great resource but we must allow it the space to be great and this increase to 200% is a great way to start. Expand fair fares!!

    Comment added September 22, 2023 11:01am
  • Rafael Campana

    Raising Fair Fares eligibility to just 120% of the poverty level will not allow the program to maximize its targeted intent of helping the general working populace of New York.
    Please consider updating the rules to allow those earning up to 200% of the poverty level to qualify for half-price transit.

    This will lead to economic stimulation and growth that can withstand the winds of the high inflation in the current structure of the economy.
    Allowing people to offset the cost of living by just a small sum can allow for more growth and development than even initially intended.
    I urge you to reconsider.
    Thank you.

    Comment added September 22, 2023 12:10pm
  • Elianna Washington

    Expand Fair Fares eligibility to %200 of the poverty level.

    Comment added September 22, 2023 10:52pm
  • Henry Zhu

    Dear HRA,

    Please consider expanding fair fares to 200% rather than 120% of the federal poverty level. As an MTA employee, I deeply wish for everyone to be able to utilize our great transit system as they need, and not pull back on their transit needs because they cannot afford their fare. New York is such an expensive city, and individuals and households making 200% of the federal poverty line are struggling to make ends meet. As an MTA employee seeing ridership data week to week, I know we are still at only ~70% of pre Covid ridership and I believe this policy would help us return to 100% in an equitable fashion.

    Thank you for your consideration,
    Henry Zhu
    MTA Operations Planning Department

    Comment added September 22, 2023 11:29pm
  • Alma Hutter

    Public transit should be truly public and truly for the people. Expand Fair Fares to at least 200%!! Really public transit should be free for everyone but this would be a start.

    Comment added September 23, 2023 9:52pm
  • Leah Retherford

    This is a no brainer. The cost of living in nyc is so high who can imagine trying to live here on $26,000 a year. Even at $52,000 it is stil a struggle, which is why qualifying for fair fares should be set at 200% of the federal poverty level.

    Comment added September 24, 2023 9:58am
  • Danna Dennis

    120% is not going to cut it in NYC!! We are suffering with basic cost. Between groceries, rent, childcare, medical expenses riders can barely afford to ride the subway and buses. Please increase eligibility to 200% today!!

    Comment added September 26, 2023 5:09pm
  • Jonathan Espinosa

    All prices went up. Rent. Food. Medicine. Products. Transportation. Except my wages which are the same. Eligibility should be 300% not 120%.

    Comment added October 2, 2023 3:11pm
  • New York City Bar Association

    Please see attached comment/written testimony from the Social Welfare Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added October 5, 2023 4:38pm