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MetroCard discounts for welfare recipients pushed by Queens politician

There are calls afoot for discounted MetroCards for

There are calls afoot for discounted MetroCards for residents who receive welfare. Photo Credit: Bryan Smith

A new bill would help some of the poorest New York City residents pay for their MetroCards.

Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require the city to provide half-priced MetroCards to welfare recipients who need to travel to work in order to receive their aid.

“It seems obvious to us that if the city requires folks who are on public assistance to work in order to receive public assistance, they should be able to get a discounted ride to get to work and be eligible for public assistance in the first place,” Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer said he was not sure how many residents would be eligible for the discount, though he said it was “an investment worth making.”

The mayor’s office was not immediately available to comment.

“The poorest New Yorkers are paying the most to ride the subway because they can’t shell out for the monthly pass and get those discounts,” Van Bramer added.

With another round of MTA fare hikes slated for 2017, the Riders Alliance and Community Service Society (CSS) have been calling on the city to provide half-priced MetroCards to all low-income residents — similar to discounts offered to seniors and students.

“We’re happy that the councilman is shining a spotlight on this issue, but we think our proposal is a fairer solution to help the poor New Yorkers who might not be receiving public assistance,” said Nancy Rankin, of CSS.

Van Bramer said he supports the work of the advocates and would be “open to amending the legislation to improve it, but this is the first salvo towards ending transit ridership inequality.”


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