Protesters vow occupation over MBTA fare hikes
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Frustrated commuters, fired up over the MBTA's decision to raise fares and cut service, have vowed to stage a ten-day occupation of the State House steps in protest.
The protesters have now set up what they call ‘Camp Charlie’ outside the State House. They say this is just the beginning of their plans for a long demonstration -- and they want Beacon Hill to listen.
“It's a really great system, it's not the time to cut it, it's the time to expand it and even make it cheaper," said Susan McLucas.
The protest was launched Wednesday in response to the MBTA’s Board of Directors' vote, 4 to 1, to approve the hikes -- 25 cents more for subway rides, 30 cents more for bus rides, and $1.25 or more added to commuter rail prices.
The fare increases and service cuts are now scheduled to go into effect on July 1.
T officials say they have no choice to close the large budget gap.
“We do have the reality of needing to balance the budget,” acting MBTA Chairperson Jonathan Davis said. “We don’t have the revenues necessary today to fund the transportation system that we have.”
The protesters took their complaints to the State House under the watchful eye of dozens of state troopers.
MBTA officials warn that if they don't get help from Beacon Hill, there will be more fare hikes and service cuts next year.
The demonstrators say they will stay camped out until April 14, ten days of planned protests.
Their goal is to talk to legislators going into work here at the state house about public funding for transportation.
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