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Should Transit Be Free For People With Disabilities, Low Income Seniors?

In a recent report, the Independent Budget Office projects the city could save money if it adopted a free transit program.
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New York City's low-income seniors and people with disabilities could save thousands of dollars if the city adopted a relief grant program that would provide free transit fares for 760,000 residents. 

According to Gothamist, the relief grant would cost the city $67 million annually, much lower than the $95 million set aside for the Fair Fares program this current fiscal year. 

Among the city's programs is the MTA's Reduced Fair Program through which residents aged 65 and older, and people with disabilities, are eligible for a 50% fare discount. The Independent Budget Office report states that the pending grant will close the gap between the MTA's Reduced Fair Program and Fair Fares.

"Because eligibility for the MTA’s Reduced-Fare MetroCard Program currently makes one ineligible for Fair Fares, nearly all of these 762,000 New Yorkers would be new participants in Fair Fares, and their trips would represent a new city expense for Fair Fares,” according to the report.

Although these relief programs seek to alleviate the financial strain on residents, a report published by the city's Human Rights Administration shows that only 315,000 New Yorkers benefit from the Fair Fares program less than half of 900,000 eligible residents.

Low registrations are also projected for the pending grant, with the IBO report estimating that only half of eligible residents will register.