Immigrants And Refugees

New Opportunities for New Yorkers: Apply for Half-Priced MetroCards

On January 27, 2020, the Fair Fares NYC program begins accepting applications. The Fair Fares NYC program helps low-income New Yorkers keep up with transportation costs by offering half-price MetroCards.

The Fair Fares NYC program was put together by Mayor DeBlasio, Council Speaker Johnson, and the City Council to help New Yorkers who live below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). The program began in 2019 to help New Yorkers who were receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and Cash Assistance. It later opened to eligible CUNY students, student Veterans, and NYCHA residents.


One of the biggest barriers to gainful employment in this, our great city, is the ability to get around in it. The MTA is like a circulatory system that gets New Yorkers everywhere, especially to their workplaces (just try to board a train during rush hour). Catholic Charities shared information from the Community Service Society in June of 2018 who discovered that more than a quarter of low-income New Yorkers said they often couldn’t afford subway or bus fare. Worse still, many said unaffordable fares prevented them from accessing medical care or even taking jobs.

Catholic Charities of New York has always been a vocal advocate of New York’s poor. CCNY’s Executive Director, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan congratulated the City on the Fair Fares NYC program because “the affordability and upkeep of public transit is a critical, yet often under addressed public policy area.”

According to, over 100,000 people have already registered for the program, with thousands more expected at the end-of-January open-registration. Program participants receive a special Fair Fares NYC MetroCard (FFM) that they can choose to fill with either time or value, like any other MetroCard. This will increase the likelihood that poorer New Yorkers can elevate themselves and become more independent.


To know if you qualify you can check with the Human Resources Administration (HRA) of NYC at . If you are already registered with the HRA the City will mail you a letter to let you know if you are eligible and when you can apply for Fair Fares NYC. If you are already in the Fair Fares NYC program, you will have to reapply after the January registration opening.