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MTA will launch reduced fare pilot program for outer-borough commuters

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The agency will roll out “Freedom Ticket” sometime in fall 2017

Flickr/John St John

In 2015, the MTA’s New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCRTC) entertained the idea of a single reduced fare plan, dubbed “Freedom Ticket,” that would make subways, buses, and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) trips more affordable for commuters in east Brooklyn, southeast Queens, and parts of the Bronx who face the some of the city’s longest commutes into Manhattan. On Wednesday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced that after months of advocacy, the NYCRTC will finally move forward with the plan by launching a pilot program that will begin in the fall (h/t Gothamist).

Freedom Ticket will give riders the option to purchase single, weekly, or monthly subway and railroad passes for less than the original fare prices. Several stops have already been identified as participants of the pilot program. In Brooklyn, the Atlantic Terminal, East New York, and Nostrand Avenue stations along the LIRR route will be among those included within the pilot program while Queens stations include Rosedale, St. Albans, Laurelton, and Locust Manor.

Aside from offering residents of New York City’s transit deserts an opportunity to cut the amount of time spent on travel, Borough President Adams sees the Freedom Ticket pilot as an opportunity to help mitigate forthcoming inconvenience and overcrowding as a result of the impending L train shutdown and temporary service halts on the M line between Myrtle Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue.

“The Freedom Ticket promises a greater freedom of movement and a more intelligent use of our transit system, prioritizing the needs of commuters in need of a break. I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot program,” said Adams in a press statement.

The MTA is hoping that the Freedom Ticket pilot will also help fill empty seats on the LIRR during peak hours. According to agency stats, half of seats go unfilled during morning peak hours on westbound Atlantic trains and on eastbound trains, 59 percent of seats are left empty.

The outline is expected to roll out in the spring and the program is looking to be implemented sometime in the fall.