Boston Epicenter of Occupy Transit's Day of Protest as MBTA Approves Fare Hike

Members of the public at Wednesday's MBTA meeting (photo by J. Platt via twitter)

The tweets are coming fast and furious.

Boston's MBTA Board just voted for a fare increase that takes effect July 1. Unluckily for that body, today's board meeting coincides  with national protests (referred to as a National Day of Action for Mass Transit) proposed by Occupy Boston. It's the date on which Martin Luther King Jr. -- himself a transit activist -- was assassinated.

Occupy MBTA tweeted: "SHAME! Board member just said 'we are transportation agency, not a social service agency.'" @AceEJ tweeted: "Disabled rider tells #MBTA bd: Someday you're going to need THE RIDE & I hope it's there 4 u! Transit is a right, not a privilege! Cheers!" And Boston Metro reporter Steven Annear wrote: "Second Board member interrupted by crowd chanting "Just Vote NO"

At the end of the two hour-plus meeting, members voted 4-1 in favor of the fare hikes of about 23%.

Boston's transit system is facing a $161 million budget gap.

Boston Globe reporter Eric Moskowitz tweeted that just getting into the meeting involved "3 checkpoints, (and) 1st-come-1st-served ticketing" -- not to mention passing by a large poster displaying the rules of order.

The MBTA was probably taking no chances. Last week, members of a Boston transit riders coalition commandeered an MBTA committee meeting while wearing superhero costumes -- causing official business to grind to a halt.