FOOD OR FARE?

April 25, 2018 at 4:45 am

For some New Yorker’s, choosing  between buying a meal or getting to work is a way of life. Should our most needy neighbors have their commutes subsidized? Their stories, and the debate over half priced fares ahead.

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

Aired on April 24, 2018. 

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>> ON METROFOCUS, THE UNLIMITED
METRO CORD HAS BEEN THE DE FACTO
PASSPORT HERE IN NEW YORK
ALLOWING RIDE TORS GET TO ALL
FOUR CORNERS OF THE CITY.
BUT THE PRICE TAG, $32 FOR A
SEVEN-DAY HARD AND $$121 MORE A
30-DAY CARD IS OUT OF REACH FOR
MANY LOW INCOME NORTH AMERICAERS
BUT A GROWING VOICE IS PUTTING
PRESSURE ON THE MAYOR TO ENACT A
MULTIMILLION DOLLAR PROGRAM
REDUCING FARES FOR LOW INCOME
NEW YORKERS.
THE CITY ALREADY OFFERS A
PROGRAM FOR RIDERS 65 OR OLDER
AS WELL AS DISABLED RIDERS.
AS PART OF OUR INITIATIVE
CHASING THE DREAM, POVERTY,
EQUITY AND OPPORTUNITY IN
AMERICA.
WE SPOKE TO THOSE WHO HAD MAKE
DECISIONS BETWEEN THE NEXT MEAL
OR PAYING FOR A RIDE TO WORK.
>> ONE OF THE BEST TIMES THE
PEAK TIME IS RUSH HOUR THAT'S
WHERE YOU RUN INTO MOST OF THE
PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SWIPE YOU ON
THE TRAIN.
>> NAGGENLE CARSON AND HIS WIFE
TOOK ME A CLOSE BY TRAIN STATION
HERE AT 125th STREET IN EAST
HARLEM THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH
MONEY FOR A 30-DAY, 7-DAY OR
EVEN JUST A SWIPE FOR A ONE-WAY
RAID ON THE TRAIN.
MANY TIMES THEY DEPEND ON THE
KINDNESS OF OTHERS IF NOT.
>> GO ON THE UPTOWN SIDE WHERE
THERE IS NO BOOTH, YOU KNOW.
AND WE'LL LOOK AROUND MAKE SURE
NO COPS ARE THERE OR GO THROUGH
THE GATE, YOU KNOW.
THAT'S WHAT WE'LL DO.
>> JASMINE AND NATHANLE ARE TWO
OF THE 800,000 NEW YORKERS
LIVING AT OR BELOW THE POVERTY
LINE.
PART OF THE GROWING GROUP
DEMANDING THE CITY PRI A REDUCED
RATE METRO CARD.
THEY WORK ODD JOBS HERE AND
THERE BUT CURRENTLY ARE
UNEMPLOYED AND HOME ZBLOOLS FOR
ME I'M DEPENDEDENT GETTING THE
TRAIN, THE BECAUSE TO GET TO
WHERE I HAVE TO GO.
NOBODY WANTS TO WALK ALL DAY.
I NEED IT.
YOU KNOW, I NEED A REDUCED FARE
TO HELP ME WHERE I WON'T NEED A
REDUCED FARE.
BUT SOMETHING FOR ME PERSONALLY
I NEED THIS SO GET ON THE TRAIN.
>> THE COUPLE SAT DOWN TO TALK
WITH ME ABOUT THE COST OF THE
TRANSPORTATION HANGS OVER LIFE
LIKE A STORM CLOUD.
>> TRAVELING OVER FOOD AND
SFENSS YOU MAY NEED FOR THINGS,
PERSONAL ITEMS WHATEVER IT MAY
BE.
YOU REALLY IS HAVE TO FACTOR IN
EVERYTHING.
BUT TRAVEL IS A HUGE, HUGE, HUGE
HOLE IN YOUR POCKET NP.
>> THEY CURRENTLY STAY AT A
NEARBY SHELTER AND USE RESOURCES
AT PICTURE THE HOME TOLLS
HOPEFULLY LAND A FULL-TIME JOB.
SOME AREN'T THAT LUCKY.
>> SOME OF THE MEMBERS ARE IN
BROOKLYN, YOU KNOW SAYING STATEN
ISLAND, QUEENS, YOU KNOW, SO
THEY'RE COMING FROM ALL OVER.
WHEN YOU TAKE IN TIME AND THINGS
LIKE THAT WITH SOME OF THE -- A
LOT OF THE SHELTERS HAVE IF YOU
DON'T GET ON THE TRAIN IN TIME
OR STUCK AT A STATION TRYING TO
GET A SWIPE YOU'RE THERE 30, 40
MINUTES LONGER NAN YOU NEED
NONYOU MIETD NOT GET TO YOUR
SHELTER IN TIME.
>> THAT CAN MEAN STAYING ON THE
TRAIN.
>> STAYING ON THE TRAIN.
>> THE UNLIMITED METRO CARD OR
EVEN ONE METRO CARD.
SWIPE IS SUCH A NECESSITY FOR
LOW INCOME NEW YORKERS THAT
THEY'RE MAKING SACRIFICES ON
OTHER NECESSITIES.
AND SO IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT AND
IT'S REALLY NECESSARY THAT MAYOR
DE BLASIO HELP THE NEEDIEST.
>> REBECCA WITH THE RIDER
ALLIANCE HAS BEEN VOCAL IN
SOMETHING CALLED FAIR FARE.
THEY RALLIED ADDED CITY HALL AND
HAVE A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF
COUNCIL MEMBERS BACKING THEM
INCLUDING COREY JOHNSON.
THEY INCLUDED IT IN THE 2019
BUDGE.
BUT THE DISCOUNT FARE PROGRAM
WOULD ALLOW WORKING AGE NEW
YORKERS LIVING AT OR BLOW THE
POVERTY LINE OF $29,833 A YEAR
TO RECEIVE HALF PRICE METRO
CARDS.
THE MAYOR EMBRACED THE IDEA BUT
SAYS IT NEEDS A REVENUE SOURCE.
HE SAYS A MILLIONAIRE TAX IS THE
ANSWER BUT IN THE LIKELIHOOD OF
THAT PASSING IN THE STATE
LEGISLATURE IS SLIM SO NONE.
>> FAIR FARES WOULD ONLY COST
ABOUT .2 OF THE CITY BUDGE.
IF THE CITY CAN'T AFRAID THIS?
WHAT IS IT DOING?
>> DIFFERENT TIME WHEN I CAN GET
THE MONTHLY METRO CARD BECAUSE I
DIDN'T PAY MY LEONARD.
MY RENT IS DUE TP THERE IS NO
GIVEN TIME I CAN PAY THE LEONARD
AND ONE SIDE EACH MONTH BY THE
NINTH.
SO I HAVE -- I GET PAID
BIWEEKLY.
EACH PAYDAY I HAVE TO PAY HALF
THE RENT OR AFFORD A MONTHLY
MODERATE CARD OR A WEEKLY METRO
CARD FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS.
>> DARLENE JACKSONLY LIVES IN
THE SOUND VIEW SECTION OF THE
BRONX.
WORK WOULD BEING PART TIME AND A
SINGLE MOM AND SAYS SHE WILL
QUALIFY FOR THE REDUCED FARE
WHICH COULD SAFE HER MORE THAN
$700 A YEAR.
>> YOU A, MAN, I'M GOING TO
START CRYING.
SORRY.
I AM A SINGLE PARENT.
I TRY TO PROVIDE EVERYTHING FOR
MY SON SO HE DON'T HAVE TO SEE
THE STRUGGLE.
BUT, YOU KNOW, I DON'T WANT
HIM -- I DON'T WANT HIM TO FEEL
LIKE HE IS LIKE BEING LEFT OUT
OF -- OF OPPORTUNITIES.
LIKE I WAS SAYING BEFORE, IF IN
PROGRAM WAS TO BE FUNDED, WHAT
WOULD I DO WITH THE $700?
I WOULD BE ABLE TO PUT HIM IN A
BASEBALL LEAGUE OR A BASKETBALL
LEAGUE.
OR GO AWAY FOR THE SUMMER.
OR YOU KNOW SOME COMPUTER
PROGRAMMING COURSE.
>> DARLENE MIRRORS THE
SENTIMENTS OF NATHANLE AND
JASMINE WHO SEE THE PROPOSAL
PROGRAM AS A STEPPING STONE TO
GREATER INDEPENDENCE.
>> I HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION.
THERE IS NO SPECIFIC LOCAL OR
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND.
.
.
THIS IS JUST NEW YORK CITY.
UNFORTUNATELY THE COST OF LIVING
AND THE LIVING WAGES COINCIDENT
COINCIDE SO IT'S A RAT RACE
TRYING TO LIKE BE ABOVE WATER.
>> I GET UP AT 6:30 IN THE
MORNING TO TAKE THE 52 BUS AT
7:48.
AND THEN WHERE I CATCH THE FIVE
TRAIN.
>> THE REDUCED FARE COULD ALSO
HELPS YOUNG STUDENTS TRYING TO
JUGGLE SCHOOL EXPENSES AND
TRAVEL.
MAWISHA IS A FRESHMAN AT THE
TECHNICAL COLLEGE.
SHE SAYS SHE NEEDS HELP TO PAY
FOR THE COMMUTE.
>> I GET HOME FOR MY BROTHER.
MY MOM DOESN'T WORK.
THE MONEY I GET FROM FINANCIAL
AID I HELP WITH MY BROTHER TO
PAY FOR THE BILLS.
SO LIKE GETTING -- PAYING LIKE
$60 A MONTH FOR A METRO CARD CAN
REALLY HELP MY FAMILY.
>> AS I WALK WITH MAWISHA TO THE
EARLY MORNING CLASS SHE SAYS SHE
HAS BEEN PART OF THE EFFORT TO
GET REDUCED FARES.
THE THOUSANDS OF OTHERS NEW
YORKERS COULD USE IT JUST AS
MUCH.
>> FOR PEOPLE WHO DO HAVE A JOB
BUT STILL LIVING IN SHELTERS
THEY COULD SURVIVE.
HOUSING FOR THEM AS WELL.
ACTUALLY IT REALLY DOES HELP.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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