NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A big break could be on the way for hundreds of thousands of subway riders in the form of so-called “fair fares” for low-income New Yorkers.
After months of negotiations, sources tell CBS2 that a framework for a deal has been reached between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council for a program that would benefit 800,000 New Yorkers.
To qualify, they’d have to be part of a family of four making less than $25,000 a year. The program is estimated to cost the city $100 million for the first six months.
“We haven’t announced what the deal is yet,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
Johnson says he’s been speaking with the mayor daily, multiple times a day, about the plan and that he’s optimistic but he wasn’t willing to give specifics, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
“The mayor conceptually supports it,” he said. “If we get this done, it’s a game changer.”
It could mean a savings of more than $700 a year for those who qualify.
“I know for myself, any help that I can get, I would really love it,” said Lower East Side resident Vida Gill.
“People that need to be subsidized, that’s where money is well spent with taxpayer dollars,” said subway rider Barry Fox.
Some though are skeptical of how the program will be able to be sustained and how the mayor plans to fund it long-term.
“Helping poor people get to work or school, important point, so if it really goes toward that I’d be fine with it,” said rider Tom Connor. “The problem is I just don’t trust him.”
In addition to figuring out how the program will be funded beyond the initial six months, what also still has to be ironed out is what agency will be responsible for handling the program.
Sources say the discounted cards could be available as early as January.