Riders Alliance member Manny A. is a 49-year-old immigrant who moved to Queens at the age of 14. His childhood wasn’t easy. “I raised myself,” he says. As an adult, he’s managed to make a living as a contract worker and manual laborer. In his free time, Manny has volunteered at soup kitchens—but he’s no stranger to poverty himself. Even when employed, he has struggled to afford basic necessities like a MetroCard.
Recently, Manny was laid off from his job. Now, finding ways to ride the subway is even harder. While looking for work, Manny sometimes has to “decide either to buy a MetroCard or spend on food or rent.” To get to work or job interviews, he has to find elaborate ways to get onto the subway or bus, including asking police officers or station agents to let him through—though often they refuse or simply aren’t around.
While there are limited numbers of pay-per-ride MetroCards available through government or non-profit services, he finds the process challenging, saying, “You have to go through hurdles to get social services”—and when your first priority is a job, it’s hard to both look for work and apply for help as well.
Now, Manny relies on help from riders with unlimited MetroCards—an unfortunate turnaround for someone who, when he was working regularly, would use his MetroCard to swipe less fortunate subway riders into stations. “It’s hard for me,” said Manny, “the pride part. I don’t like asking—no one should have to ask.”
Manny joined the Riders Alliance to fight for reduced fares for low-income New Yorkers. “Lots of people in the neighborhood are getting arrested for hopping the turnstile,” he says. “They need this.” Tired of seeing people arrested or simply unable to ride the subway at all, Manny says he got involved in the campaign for reduced fares for low-income riders “for all people who need this, not just me.”
Join Manny in the fight for #FairFares. Sign our petition to ask Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to support a program that would allow low-income families to purchase MetroCards at reduced rates–and if you’re on Twitter, tweet about our campaign:
Tweet: I’m fighting for #FairFares for low-income riders. Sign @RidersNY petition to @NYCMayor for #Transit4All ridersny.org/fairfares!