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

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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.