The activist group Boston Fare Strike Coalition plans to hold a mass fare evasion day on the first Friday of every month to protest the MBTA fare hikes which went into effect on July 1. They also hope to use the event to build an organized public resistance to fight future fare increases or service cuts.
The group intends to create better literature and signs, to take a more targeted approach to which stations they chose to "liberate," and to create a buzz in those communities beforehand so residents have a clear understanding of what the fare evasions are all about.
"I'm very concerned the message people are getting is not the message we're putting out at all," said Bill Lewis, a facilitator and outreach coordinator for Occupy Boston.
Despite media reports of people refusing the free ride, most of the public was thankful if not a little surprised, members said. Some transit workers also expressed their support for the cause, but said it was their job to enforce the laws. T police started issuing $50 tickets to people caught evading the turnstiles and the Transit Police made a point of posting news of their crackdown on their Twitter feed.
Members also said that some of the stations they held open - South Station for example - probably included more passengers who worked in the financial district than the poor, elderly and young people who've been most adversely affected by the MBTA changes.
They plan to focus their efforts on communities underserved by transportation — like East Boston, Chelsea, Roxbury or Dorchester — to build a support base. The next protest will be Aug. 3 in the Quincy area, and the group also has a Facebook page, event listing, Twitter and Tumblr accounts to keep the public informed.