Fair Fares program: Only unlimited-ride MetroCards will be discounted

Discounted MetroCard fares are finally arriving for some New Yorkers. Advocates have long pushed for the program, called "Fair Fares," and earlier this year Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council struck a deal to fund it.

It will provide half-priced metro cards to New Yorkers who live below the federal poverty line—that means an annual income of $12,000 or less for an individual or about $25,000 for a family of four.

But the program will initially only offer half-priced 7-day or 30-day cards, which some say contradicts the program's purpose.

"We really think people ought to be able to purchase whatever fare type makes the most sense for them," said Nancy Rankin, the vice president for policy research and advocacy at the Community Service Society, which has long called for discounted rides.

The group surveyed low-income New Yorkers and found that 22 percent would prefer to buy a single ride ticket.

"They're living day to day, and those people ought to be able to buy the kind of fare that they can afford," Rankin said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the mayor said staff will monitor the rollout and make changes if needed.

"The 7-day and 30-day options save money, provide flexibility for Fair Fares riders, and they allow us to get the program up and running faster than usual," the spokesperson said.

Some riders say even if the discounts are limited to multi-ride cards, it is a step in the right direction.

The program officially rolls out in January though details haven't been released yet about just how it will work.