Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams last Friday led a coalition of local elected officials in calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to initiate a pilot program for the proposed “Freedom Ticket.”
The “Freedom Ticket” would allow commuters to pay a single fare for travel within New York City on MTA subways and LIRR trains.
The plan would include trips between the Atlantic Terminal and East New York stations on the LIRR’s Atlantic Branch, inclusive of the Nostrand Avenue station.
In their letter to MTA Chair Thomas Prendergast, Adams and others explained that the proposal, developed by the New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC), should be piloted in Brooklyn to help reduce costs and expand transit options for riders who live and work along the Atlantic Branch corridor.
“In Brooklyn, the ‘Freedom Ticket’ presents an opportunity to support neighborhood growth and development in East New York,” Adams wrote. “We believe that the ‘Freedom Ticket’ program could be a significant asset in mitigating strain on the existing subway system while also providing residents in the East New York area an affordable option to ride the LIRR to Atlantic Terminal.”
The “Freedom Ticket” would allow riders to purchase a single one-way ticket or a weekly or monthly pass valid for travel on both the subway and railroad trains for less than the price of tickets and passes for both.
Adams noted that this program would build on the CityTicket pilot, which established a reduced fare on weekends within city limits on LIRR and Metro-North trains.
In his Strategic Policy Statement released last year, he called for the expansion of this effort.
According to MTA statistics, there are more than 9,300 seats left empty on westbound Atlantic Branch trains during morning peak hours.
Adams suggested that the “Freedom Ticket” would incentivize LIRR usage in a way that reduces overcrowding on nearby subway lines.
Adams was joined on his letter to Prendergast by State Sen. Martin Malavé Dilan; Assembly Members Walter T. Mosley, Annette M. Robinson, and Latrice M. Walker; as well as Council Members Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Laurie A. Cumbo, and Rafael L. Espinal, Jr.
“‘Freedom Ticket’ will provide ease of access through affordability and commuting alternatives,” Dilan said. “It’s a smart proposal that makes full use of our above and below ground system to the benefit of the transit system as a whole and the ridership.”
“I am in full support of the ‘Freedom Ticket’ program,” Robinson said. “The ‘Freedom Ticket’ will provide riders with an affordable way to travel across the city while helping to reduce overcrowding on the MTA lines.”
Walker said residents of Brownsville, Ocean Hill, and East New York will “benefit substantially from the ‘Freedom Ticket,’ which will allow for improved access to Downtown Brooklyn, Manhattan, and other parts of the city.
“I commend Borough President Adams and my fellow elected officials for their commitment to riders who have often been underserved,” Walker said.