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Rising Fares at the Turnstile

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Rising Fares at the Turnstile

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The entry is becoming the barrier to economic mobility for low-income New Yorkers. This presentation shows, through data collected by the Community Service Society's annual Unheard Third Survey, the hardship faced by low-income New Yorkers in paying for public transportation, and the clear support among residents for a plan to provide discounted fares for low-wage workers.

The entry is becoming the barrier to economic mobility for low-income New Yorkers. This presentation shows, through data collected by the Community Service Society's annual Unheard Third Survey, the hardship faced by low-income New Yorkers in paying for public transportation, and the clear support among residents for a plan to provide discounted fares for low-wage workers.

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Rising Fares at the Turnstile

  1. 1. Rising Fares at the Turnstile The entry is becoming the barrier to economic mobility for low-income New Yorkers Findings from the 2014 Unheard Third survey of New York City residents March, 2015 www.cssny.org
  2. 2. Being unable to afford subway and bus fares now ranks as the most-reported hardship among poor New Yorkers. % of poor reporting hardship on Unheard Third (2014) www.cssny.org 11% 12% 16% 16% 18% 18% 19% 22% 23% 23% 23% 25% 29% 29% 32% 33% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Received assistance fom charity, religious, or community organization Been threatened by foreclosure or eviction Not gotten or postponed medical care or surgery Moved in with other people Received free food or meals from a food pantry or soup kitchen Had gas, electricity, or telephone turned off Went hungry because there wasn't enough money to buy food Had hours, wages, or tips reduced Often skipped meals Needed to fill a prescription but couldn't Lost your job Receieved free food or meals from family or friends Been without health insurance coverage Fallen behind in rent or mortgage Cut back on buying school supplies or clothes Often unable to afford subway and bus fares
  3. 3. 1 out of 3 poor New Yorkers are often unable to afford subway and bus fares now . . . even before the latest hikes take effect. Q: In the last year, have you or any member of your household been often unable to afford subway or bus fares www.cssny.org 33% 27% 8% 16% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Poor All Low income Mod-high Total
  4. 4. Subway fares are rising more quickly than incomes for lower-income New York City households. Median household income for bottom quartile of incomes and subway fares in NYC (2002-2015) www.cssny.org $1.50 $2.00 $2.25 $2.50 $2.75 $0.00 $0.50 $1.00 $1.50 $2.00 $2.50 $3.00 $0 $2,000 $4,000 $6,000 $8,000 $10,000 $12,000 $14,000 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Median household income Subway fare
  5. 5. Mass transit is becoming unaffordable, especially for blacks and Latinos. Over 1/3 of poor Latinos and more than 4 out of 10 poor blacks often have trouble paying for buses and subways. Q: In the last year, have you or any member of your household been often unable to afford subway or bus fares? www.cssny.org 35% 29% 17% 18% 42% 35% 26% 16% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% Black Latino White Asian Poor All low-income
  6. 6. Affording mass transit is a big problem for poor families; 4 in 10 often can’t afford the fares. Q: In the last year, have you or any member of your household been often unable to afford subway or bus fares? www.cssny.org 44% 37% 25% 16% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% Poor with children Low income with children With children All New Yorkers MTA allows free entry for up to 3 children 44 inches tall or less, with a fare-paying adult
  7. 7. 3 out of 10 of the working poor and more than a quarter of low-income working moms often can’t afford subway or bus fares. Q: In the last year, have you or any member of your household been often unable to afford subway or bus fares? (Employed only) www.cssny.org 31% 26% 25% 8% 13% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Poor Low-income mothers Low-income Mod-high income All Employed Working New Yorkers
  8. 8. Low-income blacks and Latinos are more likely than low-income New Yorkers overall to use the subway or bus to get to work. Share of New Yorkers who get to work by subway or bus (Low-income only) (Source: 2013 American Community Survey) www.cssny.org 69% 64% 52% 48% 60% 56% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Black Latino Asian White All low-income All New Yorkers
  9. 9. And low-income black and Latino workers are most likely to report being unable to afford subway and bus fares. Q: In the last year, have you or any member of your household been often unable to afford subway or bus fares? (Low-income workers only) www.cssny.org 32% 27% 19% 13% 25% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Black Latino Asian White All low-income employed
  10. 10. Other cities are offering reduced fares for low-income riders. Examples of low-income discounts offered by other cities: King County Metro Transit Reduced Fare Program (Seattle, Washington) • Available if household income is below 200% of FPL • Fare is $1.50, a discount from regular fares of $2.25 to $3.00 (based on zones and peak times). • Starts March 1, 2015; accepted by Metro & Kitsap. Madison, Wisconsin Low-Income Pass • 31-day passes available to eligible low-income riders for $27.50 compared to regular price of $58. • Riders who self-certify that income is at or below 150% of FPL issued a 6-month pass. CARTA (Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority) Low-Income Fares • Low-income fare discounted to $1/ride from $1.75. www.cssny.org
  11. 11. Nearly 7 out of 10 New Yorkers favor offering half-price discounts for low-wage workers; support is especially strong among low-income New Yorkers. Q: Do you favor or oppose this step the State could take to help more low-income New Yorkers reach the middle class: Reduce subway and bus fares to half-price for low-wage workers? www.cssny.org 72% 43% 55% 83% 58% 69% 8% 22% 16% 13% 36% 26% -60% -40% -20% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Low income Mod-high Total Favor strong Favor not strong Oppose strong Oppose not strong Unsure
  12. 12. Support for low-income fare discounts crosses party lines with 71% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans favoring the idea. Q: Do you favor or oppose this step the State could take to help more low-income New Yorkers reach the middle class: Reduce subway and bus fares to half-price for low-wage workers? www.cssny.org 48% 50% 61% 55% 65% 65% 71% 69% 25% 19% 14% 16% 33% 31% 24% 26% -40% -20% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Republicans Independents Democrats Total Favor strong Favor not strong Oppose strong Oppose not strong
  13. 13. Discounts for some don’t have to mean higher fares for other riders. Revenue sources are needed beyond the farebox. www.cssny.org The MTA relies much more heavily on fares from riders than transit systems in other cities, as measured by the “farebox recovery ratio” (passenger fare revenue divided by operating expenses). Farebox Recovery Ratio, Selected Cities: 58% NYC subways and buses 44% Chicago 38% Boston 36% Philadelphia Source: NYC Independent Budget Office estimates based on 2011 data from the Federal Transit Administration
  14. 14. How the survey was conducted. www.cssny.org The Community Service Society designed this survey in collaboration with Lake Research Partners, who administered the survey by phone using professional interviewers. The survey was conducted from July 25th to August 21st, 2014. The survey reached a total of 1,615 New York City residents, age 18 or older, divided into two samples: • 1006 low-income residents (up to 200% of federal poverty standards, or FPL) comprise the first sample: � 537 poor respondents, from households earning at or below 100% FPL � 459 near-poor respondents, from households earning 101% - 200% FPL • 609 moderate- and higher-income residents (above 200% FPL) comprise the second sample: � 410 moderate-income respondents, from households earning 201% - 400% FPL � 199 higher-income respondents, from households earning above 400% FPL. • This year’s survey also included an oversample of 400 cell phone interviews among adult residents at up to 400% FPL. Telephone numbers for the low income sample were drawn using random digit dial (RDD) among exchanges in census tracts with an average annual income of no more than $40,000. Telephone numbers for the higher income sample were drawn using RDD in exchanges in the re- maining census tracts. The data were weighted slightly by gender, age, region, immigration status, education and race in order to ensure that it accurately reflects the demographic configuration of these populations. In the combined totals respondents in the low income sample were weighted down to reflect their actual proportion among all residents. Also, in the combined totals, the sample is weighted by telephone status. Interviews were conducted in English, Spanish and Chinese. In interpreting survey results, all sample surveys are subject to possible sampling error; that is, the results of a survey may differ from those which would be obtained if the entire population were interviewed. The size of the sampling error depends upon both the total number of respondents in the survey and the percentage distribution of responses to a particular question. The margin of error for the low income com- ponent is +/- 3.1%. The margin of error for the higher income component is +/-4.0%.

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