Kate Hinds covers transportation for WNYC News.
Boston Epicenter of Occupy Transit's Day of Protest as MBTA Approves Fare Hike
Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - 03:25 PM
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.