Young activists march at an April 2013 youth pass rally. Photo: YAC/Facebook
As MBTA fares stand now, one-third of Boston-area youth between the ages of 12 and 21 can't afford to pay their way to work, school, healthcare, sports and extra curricular activities, according to organizers behind an escalating push for a $10 monthly MBTA youth pass.
"We polled the youth population and this is the figure young people feel they can afford," said YAC Coordinator Caroline Casey, 23.
The coalition is not the first to call on an extremely discounted youth pass. For the past eight years, activists from the Boston-area Youth Organizing Project, Youth Way on the MBTA Boston Student Advisory Council and more have called for the pass, Casey said.
The group's voice is getting louder, with an online petition collecting nearly 500 signatures, and a paper petition collecting hundreds more. Next Wednesday, activists are expected to embark on a Boston Youth Power March from Park Street to MassDOT, where they will stage a die-in, sometimes known as a lie-in, and deliver testimonials.
Organizers are using Facebook and Twitter to collect supporters, and are rallying followers with the hashtags "#YOUTHPASS" and "#NOHIKES."
When asked whether the T would consider a $10 youth pass, a spokeswoman pointed to the already discounted youth pass and said transit officials maintain an active dialogue with activists.
"'Active dialogue' is an interesting way of putting it," Casey said. "The MBTA is fully aware of the suffering… This line that their hands are tied is a myth."
Organizers haven't lost hope, Casey said, but with little to show after years of campaigning, the frustration is nearly tangible.
"They're really angry," she said. "They're tired of being told there is no money, then reading in the paper that $20 million will go toward late night service because a few yuppies want to get drunk and go home late."