NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City leaders want to know what’s the hold-up with the Fair Fares program, meant to provide half-price MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers.
It was supposed to start on New Year’s Day, offering discounts on weekly and monthly cards.
But each time de Blasio was asked about a timeline Wednesday, he could not give a definitive answer other than “a few days.”
Watch: Stringer Slams De Blasio Administration Over ‘Fair Fares’ Delay
“This program was supposed to begin on Jan. 1. It was supposed to be the moment people could sign up, get on the train, save some money, contribute to the economy and make a difference for their families,” City Comptroller Scott Stringer told reporters Thursday morning. “We’ve asked for many days when is it coming. We have no answers, we have no transparency. They’re holding public money and they have not yet rolled out this program.”
“The city has failed, and we need to be sure that we fixed the problem,” said Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the City Council’s transportation committee. “This program is supposed to be covering all New Yorkers – 800,000 – who live on (the) poverty line.”
Watch: Transit President Byford & Councilman Rodriguez Talk ‘Fair Fares’
Transit Authority President Andy Byford told reporters Thursday it’s a “city-run program.”
“We are working with the city to now finalize the details. We have said from the start we fully support fair fares as long as No. 1 – we are made whole in terms of the budget, because obviously reduced fares mean less revenue for us… No. 2 – that the city will administer that program,” he said. “So that’s for the city to administer. We’ll be ready.”
The mayor and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson shook on the plan six months ago in June, and $106 million were set aside in the city’s budget.
During a press availability Wednesday, reporters asked de Blasio for specifics, but he couldn’t give any.
“Everything I said, I meant. And everything I said, we followed through on,” he said. “I think New Yorkers understand that if you have an ideal goal and it takes a few extra days, the good part is people are going to benefit starting right away.”
In a statement, Johnson said he’s committed to making the program work, but did not give any specifics about when it will be up and running.
CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis spoke with subway riders Thursday in Manhattan to see how they feel about the program and its apparent delay.
“I see a lot of people every day that could really benefit from using that program,” one man said.
“They’re not keeping their promise… But I understand there is a lot going on in New York City,”
“What’s the problem? What’s the hold-up? I have no idea,” another woman added. “That’s the city for you.”