Late yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill to expand the program to allow commuters that live far from the city center to take two buses and a subway all for one MetroCard swipe. It was overwhelmingly passed in the state Legislature in June. The measure was intended to help commuters who pay two fares in order to get to work or school, according to the bill’s sponsors Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz and Sen. Martin Golden.
It would have allowed commuters to get two free transfers instead of one within two hours, but only on certain routes. The MTA objected, saying it would be difficult technically and cost $40 million a year.
Cuomo noted that “the bill does not provide any funding to account for the expense.” He then suggested that these two-transfer commuters buy unlimited Metrocards.
They cost $116.50. Previous studies conducted by the city have shown that up to two thirds of New Yorkers who commute more than an hour in each direction make less than $35,000 a year, making the monthly expenditure for an unlimited Metrocard difficult to budget for. Assemblyman Dinowitz echoed that sentiment in his statement yesterday, “It’s just not fair for people who, through no fault of their own, have to take three rides and are in a two-fare zone.”
This marks the second of Cuomo’s unpopular vetoes this week. Yesterday he also blocked a non-lethal plan to control the population of the (possibly invasive) lithe-necked, snow-white swan saying that the extermination of upwards of 2,000 of the birds was the best option.