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Transportation

How NYC Cut Some New Yorkers’ Commute Time in Half

New York City’s MTA is planning to extend a successful program that increases transit equity by pegging discounts to underserved locations rather than people.
A Long Island Railroad commuter train in New York. The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority recently renewed a program that allows passengers in locations underserved by the subway discounted fares to a Brooklyn transit hub.
A Long Island Railroad commuter train in New York. The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority recently renewed a program that allows passengers in locations underserved by the subway discounted fares to a Brooklyn transit hub.Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Programs to improve transit equity often focus on making transit more affordable and accessible by discounting fares for low-income individuals. But for the past year, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has been discounting fares on commuter rail lines in neighborhoods that lack good subway access for travel to city business centers. It has served the triple purpose of creating better flow of travelers; increasing take-up on underutilized lines, and providing more rapid transit to people who needed to opt for cheaper, longer alternatives.

This summer, the MTA announced that the Atlantic Ticket, a pilot program that offers cheaper Long Island Railroad (LIRR) tickets for rides to Atlantic Terminal, would be renewed for another year after the successful pilot. The program allows LIRR passengers from some Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods to pay just $5, instead of the standard $10.25 for a one-way trip between eligible stations, and $60, down from $104.25 for a weekly unlimited ticket.