Armed with a message and a metaphor, a few dozen scorned T riders took to the State House Thursday wearing their bloody hearts on their sleeves.
The protesters, mostly made up of senior citizens and disabled people who depend on public transportation, fastened paper stab wounds and cardboard knives to their backs and danced to the 1972 O' Jays tune "Back Stabbers," while waving cut out head shots of Gov. Deval Patrick and MBTA acting General Manager Jon Davis.
The group sang along, too, hoping to get across the obvious point that they feel betrayed by state and transit officials who backed the fare hikes and service changes that will take effect Sunday.
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"I think it's hard for everybody, but I know personally it will be hard for me. It's very unfair because it's too expensive," said protester Vernice Abernathy of the looming increases.
Abernathy is wheelchair bound and said she uses THE RIDE, a paratransit service for the elderly and disabled, to go shopping and visit her doctor.
While the average rider will see fare increases of about 23 percent, people using THE RIDE will have to pay double, with fares going up from $2 to $4, and as much as $5 for some riders.
In April , the T Board of Directors approved the increases, as well as cuts in service, to balance the fiscal year 2013 budget.
Organizers of Thursday's protest said they hoped to hold Patrick and his administration accountable for giving their blessing on the disproportionate increases that they feel directly target those who can least afford it.
"It is a knife in the back, really, because they should think of the seniors and what they're going through, and the people who are disadvantaged," Dorothy Seaborne said. "They need (THE RIDE)."
Bus routes 48, 355 and 500 will be eliminated
Charlie Ticket increases up to $2.50 for subway, up to $2 for bus
Charlie Card goes up to $2 for subway, up to $1.50 for bus
THE RIDE will cost $4 for ADA trips, Premium Trips will cost $5 starting on Oct. 1