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Group Protests MBTA Fare Hikes With ‘Fare Free Fridays’

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – It’s the newest strategy for the group calling itself the Boston Fare Strike Coalition.

They call it Fare Free Fridays.

Members of the group begin with a rally and then march to a T station, at which point they force open the doors or the turnstiles and allow everyone in the group – and any willing members of the public – to board for free.

“Basically we’re going to hit the MBTA where it hurts, in their pockets,” explained one female member of the group who was distributing fliers outside of the Park Street Station. “Unfortunately in this economy money speaks more than people’s voices, so we’re going to use our money to speak.”

This is the group’s reaction to the MBTA’s July first fare hikes, which they say unfairly target the people who are the least able to pay more.

This Friday’s targeted station was Chinatown. The group held open the doors for roughly 15 passengers, most of whom still swiped their Charlie Cards on the scanners to pay for entry, unwilling to take the protesters up on their offer.

In a statement to WBZ-TV, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo accused the protesters of “meaningless” and “childish tactics.”

“Their actions only serve to harm the very transit system they claim to value,” Pesaturo said.

Other T passengers also seemed unwilling to support the movement.

One man told WBZ-TV that the protesters “should be arrested.”

“If you want to protest, just protest,”another woman told us. “But jump over? It’s no good.”

You can follow Jim Armstrong on Twitter @JimArmstrongWBZ.

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