MTA Board Enacts Partial Second Transfer But More is Needed, Dinowitz Says

Assemblyman Dinowitz has legislation which would create a universal second free MetroCard transfer to better serve New Yorkers in transit deserts and those who depend on ADA accessibility
January 24, 2018

New York, NY – The MTA Board approved a second free transfer, as requested by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, however only in circumstances where there is a planned or unplanned service disruption. While this is a step in the right direction, those New Yorkers who live in underserved transit deserts such as the Bronx, Queens, and Eastern Brooklyn as well as those who rely on elevators and ADA accessible transit are still left in de facto two-fare zones.

The MTA resolution is consistent with proposed executive changes to the bill from Assemblyman Dinowitz, which has passed each the State Senate and Assembly in both 2015 and 2017, which would limit the second free transfer to only cases where service was disrupted. Transit users can now receive up to two paper transfers for both planned and unplanned service disruptions on the bus, or two General Order Transfers for a planned General Order disruption in the subway (commuters can already receive two Block Tickets to subway customers who experience and unplanned service disruption). Assemblyman Dinowitz’s legislation, which will be reintroduced, eliminates the requirement of a service disruption for a second free transfer.

New York City’s subway system is designed to connect New Yorkers to downtown and midtown Manhattan business districts, however people are increasingly taking jobs far from the city’s center and working non-traditional hours. These commuters are forced to take multiple buses and trains to reach their destinations, and lower-income New Yorkers are often unable to afford an unlimited MetroCard and instead travel fare-to-fare. In areas such as the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn with a large concentration of low-income New Yorkers, these transit fare burdens can reinforce economic and geographic isolation.

Nearly one in ten New Yorkers has a disability, and nearly one in eight are 65 years of age or older. Unfortunately, our subway system is too often inaccessible for riders who cannot climb stairs as only 23% of stations are fully ADA compliant. Compounding this dearth of accessible stations are poor elevator maintenance practices which result in unexpected and unpredictable outages that necessitate last-minute changes in travel plans. The effect of this is that New Yorkers who are mobility-impaired often have to take multiple buses either to reach their destination or to find an accessible subway station.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) said: “While I am glad that New Yorkers will not have to pay two fares when they are victims of subway and bus service changes, there still remain many people who suffer even under normal service conditions. I will continue leading the fight for transit parity and urge affected users to make their voices heard as well.”