Council member wants free subway and bus rides for New Yorkers on major holidays

August 9, 2019

Via Flickr

A Brooklyn council member wants straphangers to ride the city’s transit system for free on a handful of major holidays. Council Member Justin Brannan, who represents the 43rd District, will introduce next week a non-binding resolution that requests the Metropolitan Transportation Authority offer free subway and bus rides during six holidays, as the New York Post first reported.

The official is seeking free fares on holidays like Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. Ridership across the system drops on these days and the MTA typically reduces service.

“Everyone loves when meters and alternate side parking is suspended in the city for the holidays, so this would just level the playing field by giving something back to people who rely on mass transit and have to put up with all sorts of service issues the rest of the year,” Brannan told the Post.

But the MTA, facing a budget deficit of $991 million by 2020, is unlikely to get on board. Shams Tarek, a spokesperson for the agency, said the proposal would force the MTA to “cut service and lay people off to make up more than $8 million per day lost on the busiest holidays.”

In response, Brannan tweeted on Friday: “Ridiculous how petulant the MTA gets when someone DARES to event suggest giving riders a break on something for once! Why should drivers be the only ones who get a break on NYC holidays?”

According to the Post, the MTA offered riders discounted fares for a few weekends in 2015. Instead of charging a $2 for a base fare, the agency made fares one dollar on weekends between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

[Via NY Post]


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