How about we dress up like the *real* Charlie on the M(B)TA and call out this corporate imposter! The real Charlie couldn’t afford even a five cent fare hike…He’d be helping people to ride the T for FREE…Not funneling them into purchase slightly discounted fare hiked Charlie cards! ;0
Boston Fare Strike will be meeting this THURSDAY, August 16th at 6pm. We’ll meet at the Boston Common Gazebo (near Park Street Station), unless it is raining or too humid to work (which seems like a possibility).
If the weather is a problem, we will meet nearby in the City Place Foodcourt. City Place is located across Boylston Street from the Boston Common. (It’s down the brick walkway known as “the Alley” and on the first floor of the Transportation building.)
Hope to see you there! Our campaign is really gaining momentum; come and get involved. We strive to unite T riders and workers across Greater Boston into a radically informed and militant force to defend and extend mass transportation in the interests of the 99%.
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!” Continue Reading
This article originally appeared on the Dig.
By Emily Hopkins
All photos: ALEX RAMIREZ
Working Title: “Fare Yikes”
Most people who have ridden the T since it did away with tokens in December 2006 recognize Charlie as a dandy fellow, dressed Don Draper-style and gleefully brandishing what we can assume to be his own CharlieCard from the window of a train.
I first heard about Charlie at summer camp in Upstate New York, years before I’d ever stepped foot in the Commonwealth. The old, grey campfire leader would weekly bring out the tune, “Charlie on the MTA,” about a man who pays a nickel to get on the T but does not have the newly requisite nickel to get off. Every day, Charlie’s wife goes down to what is now Government Center to hand him a sandwich “as the train comes rumblin’ through.”
The song says that Charlie “never returned / and his fate is still unlearned,” but it’s easy to see that he is still riding on the T—not only in our pockets and purses, but symbolically as we finally face the service cuts and fare hikes we heard about more than six months ago.
The MBTA accrued a lot of debt since 2000 due to the poor political plan of Forward Funding (the MBTA would get a penny for every nickel collected in a sales tax that Beacon Hill thought would increase; sales tax has actually fallen in the past decade) as well as the repeated borrowing the MBTA did in order to cover what that plan didn’t. Continue Reading
This post originally appeared on the Occupy Boston website.
This story starts out on point, but rapidly goes downhill. By the end, reporter Jim Armstrong is flat out lying.
As someone who was witness to this creative and principled action by the Boston Fare Strike Coalition on Friday (7/13/12), I can say that it is absolutely NOT true that all (or even most or many) of T riders “still paid their fares” even though they didn’t have to. And it is also false to assert or to suggest (as Armstrong does) that most T riders were opposed to the Fare Strikers actions. While you can find vocal antagonists to any bold action in a large crowd (and Jim Armstrong clearly did), I witnessed a wide range of responses from fellow T riders, including much support. About a thousand people took leaflets from BFSC explaining the logic behind the day’s action, and most seemed to be reading them with interest. Many were verbally supportive, and some signed up to join with the next action. A large number of people thanked the activists for the free ride home. (After all, since the MBTA jacked up fares by 23%, it’s only fair that people ride one day a week for free….The Banks get a Free Ride–continuing to profit off interest on the MBTA debt–Why can’t We? Public Transit Should be Free!)
Also, it should be pointed out that the fare strikers, while perhaps mostly under 35, also include many individuals quite a bit older than that. Quite a few appeared to be in their fifties, sixties, or even seventies. It is a multi-generational coalition. Not just a bunch of “kids.”
Jim Armstrong: putting the BS in CBS.
Check out the story in The Boston Occupier for more accurate and informed coverage of the Boston Fare Strike Coalition’s “Free Friday” action:: http://bostonoccupier.com/2012/07/15/boston-fare-strike-coalition-declares-fare-free-friday/
See footage of the action:
All are welcome to the next public meeting of the Fare Strike Coalition: Thursday, July 19 at 6:00 PM, by the Boston Common gazebo. (Rain location: City Place food court, off the Alley.)
Submitted by Joseph Ramsay