New Yorkers living at or below poverty level eligible for Fair Fares program

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Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers can now use public transit at a discounted rate.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks joined advocates Monday announcing the expansion of the city's Fair Fares NYC program.

The program -- which began last year -- gives a 50 percent discount to low-income New Yorkers. It started for those who get cash assistance and supplemental nutrition and assistance program benefits, then expanded to some students and NYCHA residents.

Now, all New York City residents living at or below the federal poverty level can apply.

Pedro Valdez-Rivera, a Bed-Stuy resident who lives with his disabled mother, has been a participant since the summer. He says the program has allowed them to allocate more money to buying healthy groceries.

"Transportation costs take a big toll on our bottom line every single month," he said. "With the Fair Fares card, it makes a huge difference turning things around going forward."

Rhonda Jackson, who used to live in a shelter, says she immediately applied for the program.

"I can't afford the luxury of an Uber," Jackson said. "This will actually help me to get back into moving about more freely."

In its first year, more than 100,000 people enrolled in the program.

Those who believe they are eligible for the program can apply at a Fair Fares office or online.

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