- Community Newspaper Group / Eli Rosenberg
If official-looking MTA signs directed you to breezily walk through open service gates during your Wednesday morning subway commute, you can thank Occupy Wall Street. The Brooklyn Paper and Daily News report that a team of protesters were responsible for the printing of the signs announcing free entry, as well as for the chains and padlocks that kept those service gates open.
According to the group taking credit for the creative act of civil disobedience, 20 stations were targeted citywide, starting at 5 a.m. The team liberated at least four stations in Brooklyn, among them the Ninth Avenue D, the Beverly Road Q, the Carroll Street F, and the Fort Hamilton Parkway F and G.
“Working people of all occupations, colors and backgrounds are expected to sacrifice to cover the budget cut by paying more for less service,” the group wrote on the Occupy website. “But here’s the real cause of the problem: the rich are massively profiting from our transit system.”
The occupiers also announced that they coordinated with workers from the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the Amalgamated Transit Union to pull off the fare strike. That claim was denied by TWU-100 spokesman Jim Gannon, who told the Brooklyn Paper his union had no involvement whatsoever. “We agree with some of the sentiments but not the tactics,” he said.
Those responsible for Wednesday’s “Rank and File Initiative” expressed frustration with recent fare hikes, budget cuts that result in reduction of staff and safety, as well as NYPD stop-and-frisks of black and Latino youths at the turnstile.
“This much is clear: the MTA’s priorities are all out of whack,” the group wrote. “This fare strike is a means for workers and riders to fight for shared interests together — but this is just a first step. All of us — the 99% — have an interest in full-service public transportation system that treats its ridership and employees with dignity.”
You can follow Sydney Brownstone on Twitter @sydbrownstone