T protesters say ‘hell no’ to fare hike, cuts

Hundreds gathered to voice their opposition during yesterday’s MBTA fare and service change public hearing.

Lynn resident C.C. Yanakakis thinks the MBTA services are a lifeline for those who need to travel to area hospitals and jobs.

Without them, communities will die, he said.

“[It’s] like blood flowing through the arteries,” Yanakakis told top transportation officials at a jam-packed public hearing yesterday.

The crowd roared with applause.

Yanakakis was flanked by hundreds of protesters who took to the streets prior to the public meeting as part of a rally against the T’s proposed fare increases and service cuts.

The rally started on Beacon Hill and ended at the State Transportation Building.

“The [T] is an economic engine. Cutting services will be devastating, and it doesn’t solve any long-term financial issues,” said Emerson student Micaela Preskill.

Swarms of protesters crowded the steps of the State House alongside Preskill, including legislators from both Somerville and Cambridge.

“Transportation is as important as any public utility—like electricity and clean water,” said State Rep. Denise Provost, D-Somerville.

Provost called the proposed cuts crippling, claiming communities can’t survive without public transit.

Outside the doors of the hearing, acting MBTA General Manager Jon Davis apologized to those who couldn’t get in.

Crowd control
   
Police standing at the doors of the State Transportation Building took signs from protesters before they entered. They said having signs was “solicitation.”
   
MBTA employees were stationed outside of the main meeting room due to overcrowding to take public testimony from those who
couldn’t get in.
   
More than 50 people were sent to an impromptu meeting room due to a lack of seats in the hearing room.
   
MBTA staff skipped the presentation and cut straight to comments from those at the hearing because of public outbursts.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear


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