Dear Globe Editors:
Your (8/5/21) Sunday editorial calls for a “crackdown” on T “fare evaders,” though you admit that such a “crackdown” will do next to nothing to help the T’s deep financial crisis. This plea for more punishment of T-riders ignores context, reflects a mean-spirited double standard, and represents a distraction from the real threats facing public transportation.
Where is the Globe editorial calling for the state to “crack down” on the predatory banks who are helping to bankrupt the T, siphoning off hundreds of millions of dollars in interest from its debt? Or to “crack down” on the politicians that dumped billions in Big Dig debt on the T in the first place? Or to “shake up the culture” of the top 1% whose tax evasion and worker exploitation have left public agencies like the T perpetually underfunded and many T-dependent workers strapped for cash?
These three hypothetical “crack downs”—unlike ticketing poor youth who can’t afford it—actually could help to resolve the T’s long-term debt crisis. If we made the “1%” pay, the T could be cutting fares instead of raising them, expanding service instead of cutting it. The T might even be made Fare Free—we could all evade the fares together!
But instead of probing the deeper issues and taking a stand against the big time crooks, your editorial stays on the surface and picks on the vulnerable. Meanwhile, the people in power continue to drive the T into the ditch, and even get rich doing it.
How about instead of throwing the young and the poor under the clattering, underfunded bus, we support our fellow T riders and place the focus and the blame where it belongs: a social economic system and a public transportation system that are both in need of fundamental restructuring?
a member of the Boston Fare Strike Coalition