In the latest stunt by the Occupy Wall Street group, a subgroup that calls itself Rank and File Initiative has chained open the emergency exits in New York City subways, giving free access to the public, and then told people at the street level to enjoy having a free ride. Further, they posted official-style notices that read “Free Entry, No Fare. Please Enter through the Service Gate” – and this over more than 20 subway gates.
“It was an attempt to say we’re united” said Occupy Supporter Jose Martin. “When there’s a fare increase, there’s a service cut or there’s a lay-off on transit workers, it’s an attack on both the transit workers themselves as well as the workers and students and youths who are riders.”
He also added that “one of the driving motivations was the criminalization of black and brown youths through the NYPD quota system. A lot of Occupiers have been going to jail for the last six months and finding themselves in jail sells with black and Latino youth who are often there for nothing more than fare evasion, thrown in cages for such a tiny violation and then often forced to lose their job or get in trouble in school.”
Occupiers are also concerned that transit fare has increased by 50% these last ten years. Therefore, in a one-occupation-fits-all movement, the chaining of the gates is meant to redress a handful of complaints.
Occupiers also fitted subway seats with decals reading “Priority Seating for the 1 Percent,” which was intended to comment that “We’re making a statement to people who use the MTA system. Most people do not understand that 20 percent of the fare right now is going to pay specifically for financial services to the MTA,” according to Occupant Jeffrey Brewer.
And Occupant Aaron Black added “We want decent train service and with that kind of money in the bank, why are the rates rising? And why are services being cut?”