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'They Say Fare Hike, We Say Fare Strike' — Group Plans Mass MBTA Fare Evasion on Friday

A protest group aims to foster mass fare evasions on the MBTA on Friday in protest of the recent fare hike and service cuts.

While most commuters limit their protest of the T's recent fare hikes and service cuts to grumbling, one activist group is going the civil disobedience route.

"Boston Fare Strike" plans to do a mass fare evasion at Park Street station. If it goes as scheduled, it would mimic a previous rally in which dozens of protesters poured through the turnstiles at Park Street in June. Attached is video of that action.

But this time the free-ride seekers might have some more consequences to their protest. This week T police started issuing $50 tickets to people caught evading the turnstiles. The Transit Police made a point of posting news of their crackdown on their Twitter feed.

The fare evaders also have their social media networks up and running. "Boston Fare Strike" has a Facebook page and event listing, plus Twitter and Tumblr accounts.

Protesters put the T fare hikes and service cuts into the larger context of austerity measures being put in place in many Western democracies.

"The State House has refused to take the MBTA debt seriously, and we aren’t going to keep paying them if they continue to bring the T into a downward spiral," protester Julie Almond told Steve Annear of BostonInno.

T officials, naturally, aren't impressed. MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo told Annear that the free riders's actions only worsen the T’s financial shape.

The protest is slated for 6-7:30 p.m. Friday at Park Street Station.

So what do you think? Is this innovative civil disobedience with a point? Does it send the wrong message about how to protest fare hikes?

Matt July 13, 2012 at 02:11 PM
i would'nt call 20 idiots from Occupy Boston a "Mass",
Bob from JP July 13, 2012 at 04:13 PM
This is high comedy. Gee, we have some of the lowest-cost public transportation anywhere, we should protest it. The depth of the lack of understanding these people have of economics is astounding.
Marc near the Park July 13, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Agreed.
J Jubilee July 21, 2012 at 06:15 PM
It's wrong to make working people, the poor, students, seniors, and the disabled bear the burden of a multi-billion dollar debt that was dumped on the MBTA by the State. It's wrong to squeeze the poor and the struggling even more, so that the rich can get even richer. The main reasons that the MBTA is in "financial crisis" is a) the rich and corporations have appropriated most of the wealth of society, to the point that state treasuries suffer; and 2) the MBTA continues to pay of hundreds of millions of dollars in interest payments to bailed out banks and boldholders. These financial predators are feeding off the T's crisis, getting fat while our system falls apart. The super-rich and the banksters routinely get a "free ride" in this society. It's about time the people got one.... http://bostonoccupier.com/2012/07/15/boston-fare-strike-coalition-declares-fare-free-friday/
Ajax July 22, 2012 at 04:54 AM
If you just paid your fare, the MBTA would not have to borrow from those evil banks and with their evil interest rates.
J Gallant July 22, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Just not true, Ajax. Since the passing of "The Enabling Act" in 2000 (also known as "Forward Funding") the MBTA has been effectively forced to issue bonds and take loans from private capital in order to function. With that act, the Legislature limited the amount of state funding to 1% or the 5% sales tax, and then left the MBTA to raise the rest of the revenue. They also went and dumped over $3 billion in Big Dig dept from the State books onto the MBTA, pretty much guaranteeing that the T would be driven further into the grips of banks and bondholers, and also guaranteeing that--in order to keep the interest payments going--the T would have to cut services and raise fares, as they have done. If we all just just keep going along and paying our fares, and not building a new source of power, one that counter the power of the banks and investor class, then this problem is not going to get better...It's going to get worse. Predictions are for another $100+ deficit next year, as more of this privately held debt comes due, meaning another round of cuts, and hikes and possibly worker layoffs. Unless...we have major changes
J Gallant July 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Big Typos: should say 1% OF the 5% Sales Tax. and $100 *Million* deficit.

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