T says fare hike, they say fare strike

Activists protest fare hikes by dodging fare.

A group known as Boston Fare Strike Coalition has put out a call for MBTA riders to meet at 6 p.m. Friday at the Park Street T station to hop, piggyback, or talk their way into the T without paying.

The activist coalition has spoken out against the recent MBTA fare hikes and service cuts. Organizers say they hope the the civil disobedience gets their message across.

“If they want to balance the books on the backs of the vulnerable, we won’t pay. Sometimes rules must be broken in the name of justice,” an organizer who goes by Julie Almond said in an email.

The group recently pulled off two mass fare evasions with over 150 participants, with no arrests or fines.
MBTA Superintendent-in-Chief Joseph O’Connor said of the looming demonstration, “We respect the rights of people to protest, however we will monitor events as they unfold and take appropriate action.”

Fare evasion fines recently increased to $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense and $300 for a third offense.

The group has been training riders to evade fare using these techniques, according to Almond:

1. To join with other riders who are also evading fares. According to Almond, this is the lowest risk because there is a crowd of people, and therefore there is less risk of citation.

2. To “piggyback,” which is when one person pays, then several people group together and walk through the gates.

3. To use an article of clothing or newspaper to trigger the sensors on the other side of the gate so that they think someone is coming out of the doors, and then they will open.

4. To simply jump on to the turn style and land on the other side.

5. Boston Fare Strike has also encouraged riders to talk to the transit workers to see if they sympathize with the cause.


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