To Whom It May Concern
At 8:00 AM Friday morning (8/3/12), members of the Boston Fare Strike Coalition will liberate the Quincy Center Red Line Station. This action represents the latest in a series of “Fare Free Fridays,” aimed at protesting and resisting the recent implementation of fare hikes and service cuts across the MBTA system. We will hold open the gates—liberating the station—for our fellow T riders, allowing them a Fare Free ride to work. It is only fair in our view that riders get one work-day ride for free each week, since the MBTA has raised fares by 23%. We are taking this action to call attention to the injustice of the recent MBTA-State Legislature Fare Hikes that have been forced on our communities. This plan, in its essence, asks the T-riders of our city to pay a backdoor tax so that bankers and bondholders can continue to reap billions of dollars in profit off of the MBTA debt, a debt that originates with the Big Dig and that was odiously dumped on the T in 2000. The current fares are not fair, and it is right for people to refuse to pay them. “If the banks can get a free ride, why can’t we?”
We reject this fare hike and the view that it is necessary. The recently enacted MBTA plan makes T-riders pay more for less. It balances the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable members of our community: low-wage workers, the unemployed, seniors, students, and the disabled. At a time when 1% of the population owns almost 40% of the total wealth, and sits on trillions of dollars in unproductive capital, the MBTA plan asks those who are already struggling to pay more. Far from being an “inevitable” cost of keeping our transit system running, the fare increases and service cuts are the result of budget austerity, underfunding of mass transit, financial mismanagement, banker profiteering, and elite corruption; a deadly combination that is undermining our city’s public transit system, now and in the years ahead. We stand for defending and expanding—not undermining or privatizing—public transit, with the goal of making it safe, ecologically sustainable, affordable, and accessible to all. Fare Free Fridays and Station Liberations are a part of building the movement to fight for this long-term goal. “They Say Fare Hike…We Say fare Strike!”
Sometimes violating the law is justified. This is one of those times. Should Gandhi, or Dr. Martin Luther King, be considered criminals for their acts of civil disobedience? The American Revolution was kicked off when rebel colonists committed an illegal act to protest what they believed to be an unjust tax on tea. We too stand against what amounts to an unjustified T- tax. Despite what MBTA officials may claim, Boston Fare Strike is not just aiming to ride the T for free ourselves, but to rally our fellow T-riders to oppose and to resist the abusive policies being handed down to us from above. If we just wanted a free ride it would be very simple for us to refuse to pay the fare, get on the train, and leave; many people have todo this every day because they can’t afford the fare. Instead Boston Fare Strike Coalition activists will be openly refusing the fare system, and holding the gates open in order to let others through, just as we have in the past. We volunteer our own time, money, and effort for the benefit of others. This is a political campaign. We are standing up for the freedom and well-being of our fellow T riders, who should not have to pay more to get to work, get to school, or get to the doctor.
Mainstream media outlets (such as WBZ) have published the lie that most other T riders are alienated by our actions and refuse to accept a free ride. In fact, hundreds of our fellow T riders have accepted our gift of a free ride. Most have thanked us. Many have joined the campaign.
The transit system rightfully belongs to the people–to T riders, T workers, and the surrounding communities– not to the banks, the bondholders, and the bureaucrats. Our ultimate goal is to make public transit free for all and to expand and improve services into historically underserved communities. This is not an impossible dream; there are many cities across the globe that already have free public transit! But it requires building T-rider power.
Such a fare-free system could easily be funded through progressive taxation or the appropriation of surplus profits from the top 1%. The government has billions and trillions of money for war, for prisons, and the police department, for tax breaks for big corporations, but when it comes to the T—something millions of us actually depend on—they claim their pockets are empty and the riders will have to make up the difference. Well, they’re going to have to dig a little deeper! Fare refusal is not going away. T riders are waking up to the fact that they are being ripped off and taken advantage of. Enough is enough! Once T-riders begin to act together, it will become clear who actually has the power, and who does not. A little bit of cooperation goes a long way.
We refuse to pay more for less.
It’s right to fight a fare that isn’t fair. It’s right to refuse to be abused.
No back door tax! No back door wage cut! Why should we have to pay to get to work or school?
Make the Banks and the 1% pay for this financial crisis which they created.
-Boston Fare Strike Coalition
WHEN: Friday, August 3rd 8am
WHERE: QUINCY CENTER T Station