After a nearly decade-long fight for transportation equity in transit-starved communities of color, Councilman I. Daneek Miller on Wednesday, Dec. 15, lauded the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) new fare reduction, including the expansion of the City Ticket — a flat-fare $5 ticket for travel within NYC on weekends — to all weekday off-peak trains.
The MTA also announced that all LIRR and Metro-North fares will remain off-peak (including during traditional peak travel times) through Feb. 28, 2022, meaning that through February, all intra-city fares will be reduced to $5.
“Our fare structure is an important tool we have to win back riders,” Janno Lieber, MTA acting chair and CEO, said. “Business logic says it doesn’t make sense to increase the price just as you’re trying to rebuild your customer base. So, we’re leaving the basic fare alone for now and rolling out a slate of new pilot fare promotions.”
Miller said the MTA’s announcement is a good first step in finally advancing transit equity for all New Yorkers — especially those currently priced out from the LIRR and Metro-North fares.
“Since we began our efforts to address transit deserts in 2014, we’ve made incredible progress and changed the conversation citywide on what transit equity looks like for Black and brown New Yorkers,” Miller said. “It’s especially rewarding to be able to inform my constituents, who have heavily utilized the Atlantic Ticket, that they are now able to get anywhere in the city for that flat $5 fare through February during peak times, and off-peak after that.”
Miller says he is confident that this development will be a game-changer going forward, as he thanked his colleagues and the advocates that pushed the MTA on this matter for the past eight years.
“With ridership not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, capturing that lost revenue is a huge benefit for the MTA, and it’s our hope that they will consider keeping this fare structure in effect and expanding it to include a free transfer to subways and buses,” Miller said.
In 2015, Miller passed a resolution calling upon the MTA to allow riders traveling within the city to pay a fare equivalent to subway and bus rates, which was ultimately modified and adopted as the Atlantic Ticket, which offers $5 one-way tickets to and from Atlantic Terminal from stations in southeast Queens, with the exception of the Rockaways.
Since then, Miller has worked to expand the successful pilot citywide, including the free transfer to subways and buses.
Implemented in 2018, the Atlantic Ticket has sold over 2 million tickets through June 2021, capturing an additional $16 million in revenue. Most importantly, it has given back valuable time to residents, dramatically cutting commute times.