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After facing sharp criticism this week from almost all New York media outlets for missing the January 1st start date of Fair Fares, Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson held a press conference this afternoon to officially launch the program. As of now, the joint initiative will provide half-priced MetroCards to approximately 30,000 low-income New Yorkers who are receiving cash assistance benefits from the Department of Social Services. In April, an estimated additional 130,000 New Yorkers receiving SNAP benefits will be able to apply. But as the Daily News’ City Hall bureau chief Jill Jorgensen mentioned on Twitter, limiting the program to these two groups means that no undocumented residents are eligible to apply.
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A program to provide discounted MetroCards to low-income New Yorkers missed its target start date of Jan. 1, and the city has not provided any concrete details on its rollout, amNY reported Wednesday. The Fair Fares pilot program, which was agreed upon in June by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, would provide half-price MetroCards for those who fall below the federal poverty line. One day after the original launch date passed, the mayor on Wednesday told reporters that more information on how to apply for the program will be provided “in literally just a few days.”
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Image via HBO
After a slight delay, limited edition “Game of Thrones”-themed MetroCards will be available starting today at Grand Central Terminal. The MetroCards are part of a larger #ForTheThrone campaign in anticipation of the series’ final season debuting sometime in April 2019. The MTA partnered with HBO for the “Game of Thrones” takeover at Grand Central, which includes more than 150 promotional posters that will remain at the station through Dec. 23, as Gothamist reported.
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Via Roman Kruglov on Flickr
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in July said it would face a budget gap of $634 million in 2022. Turns out, it will actually be much worse than that. The transit authority on Thursday rolled out its proposed 2019 budget and four-year financial plan, which now projects the budget deficit to climb to a staggering $991 million in four years. With this major budget crisis brewing, the MTA announced two new options for fare and toll increases in 2019 and possible service cuts, all while service deteriorates and ridership drops (h/t WSJ).
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Photo via Phil Hollenback/Flickr
It’s the end of an era but one that might not be too sentimental. As of May 2019, the MTA is launching its new fare payment method for the 4, 5, and 6 lines and all bus routes on Staten Island, reports amNY. No more steel bars karate chopping your abdomen when you realize your MetroCard is out of credit. Starting next spring, riders can use credit cards, mobile phones, smart watches, and mobile wallets to travel… but you’ll still be able to swipe your old MetroCard until 2023. Read more
Image by Ged Carroll on Flickr
Mayor Bill de Blasio reached an agreement with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on a new city budget, the New York Times reports. The $89.2 billion budget includes funding for discounted MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers. 6sqft reported last week on the deal struck between the mayor and the city council to provide about $100 million to fund the program. Johnson has been a tenacious and vocal supporter of the Fair Fares program, in which the city will subsidize the cost of providing half-price MetroCards to New Yorkers who fall below the federal poverty line, or a household income of $25,000 for a family of four. Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers could benefit from the discounted fares. The initial allocation in the budget will pay for six months of the program beginning in January, with further financing will be forthcoming in future budgets.
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Image by Ged Carroll on Flickr
Reduced-fare MetroCards may soon become a reality for low-income straphangers, as Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council have reached a deal Wednesday to provide roughly $100 million in funding to the program. The mayor’s agreement with Speaker Corey Johnson, who has been one of the most vocal supporters of a Fair Fares program, means the city would fully subsidize the cost of providing half-price MetroCards to New Yorkers who fall below the federal poverty line, or a household income of $25,000 for a family of four.
Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers could benefit from the discounted fares. Under the tentative deal, the city would allocate $106 million in its upcoming budget, which would pay for six months of the program beginning in January, according to the New York Times.
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Starting Wednesday, about 250,000 lucky commuters will be able to fly away with “Tickets to Mars,” a keepsake MetroCard released by Spotify as part of its David Bowie subway takeover. The limited-edition cards feature five iconic images of the music legend from the new exhibit honoring Bowie’s life at the Brooklyn Museum. The MTA stocked booths and vending machines only at Broadway-Lafayette and Bleecker Street with the special cards, and they will be randomly dispersed. Additionally, Spotify is giving New Yorkers an immersive, underground subway experience with lots of wall-sized Bowie-inspired art and special codes to listen to Bowie through the streaming service.
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Image via Cubic Transportation Systems
The MTA’s new cardless fare system will completely phase out the MetroCard by 2023, and transit advocates from the TransitCenter and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign believe there’s more to gain here than strictly streamlining the swiping process. In a report released this week titled “A New Way to Ride,” the groups outline three main policy opportunities available through the new fare system–seamless bus boarding, fare capping, and enhanced service information–all of which have been implemented in other cities with similar payment technology.
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The first ever MetroCard design by Runs With Scissors via Flickr/Creative Commons
No New Yorker’s life is complete without a MetroCard slipped into their wallet. For $2.75, it’ll get you from Brooklyn to the Bronx, and everywhere in between. But the lifespan of the MetroCard is perhaps shorter than you might think–the flimsy plastic card, complete with the Automated Fare Collection turnstiles, only became an everyday part of subway commuting in 1993. And in recent years, all signs point to the card becoming extinct. The testing phase of a mobile device scanning and payment system began this fall with plans to roll out a fully cardless system by 2020. And so in honor of the MetroCard’s brief lifespan as an essential commuter tool, 6sqft is delving into its history, iconic design, and the frustrations that come when that swipe just doesn’t go through.