MBTA Ride protesters block street, four arrested

mbta ride protest boston
A group of seniors and disabled people blocked Beacon Street on Monday to protest a lack of progress in easing fare hikes on The Ride fare.
Credit: Michael Naughton/Metro

A group of seniors and disabled people in wheelchairs blocked traffic along Beacon Street for about 30 minutes Monday afternoon during a protest over fare hikes for MBTA’s The Ride service. 

Four people were handcuffed and taken away by police, while those in wheelchairs were moved off the street in front of the State House by officers.

The group from the Massachusetts Senior Action Council said they were being denied access to transportation because of last year’s fare hikes on door-to-door service The Ride. The fare increase last year doubled the cost to $4 for a one-way trip to many locations.

Kiki Chaiton, 82, of Lynn, was one of the protesters. She said before the fare hike went into effect she took Ride to volunteer at a Swampscott nursing home. Now she can’t afford to do that. But the cost for other people worries her more.

“People on dialysis, they sometimes need to go to the doctors three or four times a week,” she said. “This was a great thing for them. It kept people alive.”

The group chanted in front of the State House before about 10 of them sat in wheelchairs or metal folding chairs in the middle of Beacon Street. A Boston police captain warned each of them individually that after a certain amount of time a police wagon would show up and they would be arrested. When the wagon showed up, the captain told each of them again that if they didn’t move to the sidewalk they would be arrested. Four people were taken away by police and those in wheelchairs were moved to the sidewalk.

mbta ride protest boston
Boston police move a protester from the street to the sidewalk Monday to open up the roadway.
Credit: Michael Naughton/Metro

Members of the organization cheered when some of the protesters were led away by police.

“They left thousands of people unable to access doctors or the community,” Carolyn Villers, the council’s executive director, said of the lawmakers and transit officials who went forward with last year’s fare hikes.

Alfredo Viera, 35, of Boston, was stuck in a van just in front of the protest that took place at about 12:30 p.m. He was on his way to Logan Airport for a 2 p.m. flight.

He said he was sympathetic to the cause of the protesters, but shouldn’t protest in the street.

“They’ve got to go,” he said. “They can’t do this on a public way like this.”

The MBTA has said the cost of operating The Ride is an extreme drain on funds and resources, especially as the population ages. The service costs the T about $122 million annually and is increasing at about 16 percent each year, T officials have said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…