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Adrienne Adams

Thursday’s Headlines: The Minimum They Could Do Edition

12:03 AM EST on March 9, 2023

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams called for an expansion of Fair Fares at her State of the City yesterday. But it’s not enough. Photo: City Council, with help from the Streetsblog Photoshop Desk

We were very happy yesterday when Council Speaker Adrienne Adams announced that she would raise the salary levels at which New Yorkers could qualify for the Fare Fairs half-priced rides program.

Instead of only getting the discount if you earn under the federal poverty limit — $13,590 per year for an individual or $27,750 for a family of four — Adams's plan is to allow the program to kick in at double the federal poverty limit. (The Daily News broke the story, and amNY followed, with the Times and amNY focusing on the broader Council agenda, and Gothamist doing both.)

Nothing plus nothing still leaves nothing. Even under Adams's plan, a person making the city minimum wage won't qualify for a transit fair discount. Reminder: A person working a full time minimum wage job makes only $31,200 (if she doesn't take any time off, either).

We sent Dave Colon down to a press conference with NYC Transit President Richard Davey to ask the well-remunerated executive if he thought the richest city in the world could afford to be more generous, but an MTA spokesman jumped in before Davey could answer (only reporters want one agency to attack another agency, we guess).

But the MTA's top spokesman later put out a statement commending Adams.

"No one should be denied opportunities to connect with jobs, education and all that New York has to offer because they can’t afford to swipe or tap into the transit system," said External Relations Chief John J. McCarthy.

We agree, but pegging the program to the minimum wage is the least we can do.

In other news:

    • Davey was really on hand to announce more subway bathroom openings. (amNY, NYDN)
    • The MTA is also relaunching the station manager program. (Gothamist)
    • Transportation Alternatives' latest crash and injury data show it's still way too dangerous for pedestrians and motorists. (NYDN)
    • We mentioned a Manhattan Community Board 7 committee vote in a previous news digest, but now the full board has rejected relief and a charging station for delivery workers. (Gothamist)
    • Hizzoner, EDC President Andrew Kimball and other dignitaries launched the "fast ferry" service with a ride from Bay Ridge to Manhattan yesterday. (NYDN, Brooklyn Paper)
    • A few days after Open Plans' Sara Lind educated Errol Louis about public space, another woman schooled the veteran newsman — this time London congestion pricing expert Isabel Dedring. (NY1)
    • Gothamist raised the question of how much the city should charge restaurateurs for outdoor dining areas. Almost whatever the city charges will bring in more fee and tax revenue than parking.
    • Hey, two Queens seniors were killed days apart by two teenage drivers, yet only Streetsblog, amNY and Gothamist covered it? Shame on you, local media.
    • Bicycling magazine explored the lawsuit announced by the family of Sarah Schick, which we covered last week. Legendary expert David Zipper raised a good question — which we promptly answered:

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