Hate MTA Fare Hikes? Join the “Swipe Back” Campaign

03/06/2013 11:51 AM |


So, you won’t be getting your $8 a month back for the unlimited card you likely need in order to get to your job and make a living every day and have no choice but to buy, regardless of swift, crazily steep MTA fare hikes. That seems like a lost cause at this point.

If you’re still pissed about the fare hikes, though — or even just feeling vaguely more altruistic than usual — there’s now the Swipe Back initiative, a slightly more official version of a time-honored tradition: swiping someone in with your unlimited card on the way out of the subway, because it is a nice thing to do. From their website:

We’ve tried to talk to them. But they won’t listen. So we have to protest. We would boycott the subway, if we could. But since it’s an essential public service, we need it, to get to our jobs and live our lives.

So instead of boycotting, we find ways to express our protest, like this: If you use your unlimited card to swipe someone else in, then you’re effectively helping them boycott the fare hike, sort of like boycotting it forward.

Unless you’re charging money for them — which, don’t do that — using your unlimited to give someone else a ride is totally legal, though the Swipe Back site does note that “things being legal does not tend to stop the police from harassing people,” and offers up a contact at the National Lawyers Guild for anyone who runs into trouble.

One of Swipe Back’s organizers, Ingrid Burrington, also told Atlantic Cities, “I’m more excited about helping people who can’t afford to ride the train […] The MTA’s coffers are being undermined from all directions. Riders are the least equipped to fill them.”

The MTA is understandably displeased with the whole thing and has pointed to many substantial efforts at cost-cutting, but, you know, fight the man. Gently.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

3 Comment

  • That woul just deprive the MTA of money they would be earning, and will just push up the next round of fare hikes.

  • Hi there! Just to clarify, I’m not “the” organizer of this. There’s a few really great dedicated people working on the campaign. Swipe Back wasn’t even originally my idea! Melissa Freedman came up with the idea to have buttons. I just made the website. Just trying to give credit where it’s due!

    –Ingrid Burrington

  • @Ingrid Got it, will update to reflect that. Thanks!