As anybody who uses Boston's public transportation surely knows, "The T" (short for MBTA, an acronym for Massachussets Bay Transit Authority) seems to have a rather laid-back system: the buses and trains will arrive when they get there, and when they eventually do, you may or may not be able to fit on-board. Legendary for its inefficiency, at least a few downtown offices avoid scheduling important meetings too early in the day.
With consistently high rates of usage and a presumably very predictable set of annual expenses, one might think there would be little difficulty bablancing the MBTA's books. But then, why bother balancing when you can simply raise the fare?
In response to the MBTA's recently proposed fare hike "'Occupy Boston General Assembly passed a Call to Action on March 3, 2012, which called on 'occupations, general assemblies and people’s movements across the country and around the globe to mobilize on April 4th, 2012 to demand public transportation for the 99%.'"
From the Occupy MBTA website:
Occupy MBTA’s People’s Assembly will be a direct response to the 31 public hearings hosted by the MBTA on its proposals to slash service and raise fairs. The MBTA claims to incorporated feedback from those hearings into its most recent proposal, but the evidence suggests otherwise. For example, MBTA officials claim there is public support for raising fares, but only 2.5% of public meeting comments supported fare hikes. In addition, MBTA officials have refused to explore many of the solutions that would have allowed the agency to balance its books without fare hikes or service cuts — including, but not limited to, canceling its interest rate swaps with Deutsche Bank, U.S. Bancorp (USB), and JPMorgan Chase.
“A good public transportation system works to reduce the effects of economic inequality by providing affordable access to work, school, and medical care,” said Ariel Oshinsky, an organizer for Occupy Boston. “But the MBTA is attempting to do the opposite by balancing its books on the backs of those who can afford it the least. In the MBTA’s current proposal, four of the five biggest fare increases will fall on seniors and riders with disabilities, and communities that are already marginalized will be further isolated by the fare hikes and service cuts.”
Occupy MBTA will continue to mobilize the 99% and take direct action until Massachusetts has a comprehensive, sustainable, and affordable public transportation solution.
Tomorrow, April 4, at the State House.
Hope to see you there...