Political Arena

Cohen fights fare hikes


Councilman Andrew Cohen has criticized planned fare hikes at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, saying an increased fare would leave out New York’s poorest commuters. 

In a statement that voiced support for the Fair Fares Campaign, Cohen called for a discounted ticket program for New Yorkers who cannot afford MTA rates. 

“Many New Yorkers are being priced out of utilizing our public transit, with one in four low-income New Yorkers unable to afford subway and bus fares,” Cohen said.

The MTA fare hikes, set to take effect March 19, do not affect the cost of single rides, which currently cost riders $2.75. But the price change will increase the cost of monthly MetroCard prices to $121 from the current $116, and of weekly cards to $32 from $31. 

“The costs of public transit continue to increase, while the quality of service does not,” Cohen said. “I am proud to join the growing coalition in support of the Fair Fares campaign which will ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income status, can continue to utilize our City’s public transit.”


Rivera proposes making bail easier

State Sen. Gustavo Rivera introduced legislation last week that would increase the amount of help that “charitable bail” organizations can provide to New Yorkers who cannot make bail. 

The bill, an expansion on a 2012 law also sponsored by Rivera, would raise the limit on how much bail an organization can pay for an individual to $5,000 from the current $2,000.

“No one should be forced to sit in jail awaiting trial or plea to a charge they did not commit because they cannot afford bail,” Rivera said in a statement on March 3. “This bill will further strengthen our state’s current charitable bail fund law by expanding how these organizations can operate and lower the financial barriers that hinder more organizations from obtaining the appropriate certification.”

Rivera added that because charitable bail organizations have limited funding, another provision of the bill would lessen the financial burden on bail organizations by decreasing the state’s certification fee to $500 from $1,000. 

“Expanding these cost-saving programs will provide countless of struggling New Yorkers with a fairer alternative to navigating our criminal justice system,” he said.