A municipal ID program that city officials thought would draw a few hundred thousand people in its first year has been much more popular than anticipated, with New Yorkers waiting hours in line and months for appointments to register.
City officials have scrambled to keep up with the demand as residents have made more than 260,000 appointments in just the first month since the city IDs became available. In the first couple of days before the online system was up, people waited hours for their turn.
“To see this kind of response … is remarkable in a positive way and I think has a lot of lessons to teach us,” said Nisha Agarwal, the city’s commissioner for immigrant affairs.
The card, dubbed IDNYC, is aimed at those who do not currently have a government-issued identification including the elderly, homeless, and an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants. To remove a stigma, cardholders are eligible for free memberships at many of the city’s signature cultural institutions as well as other discounts.