Activists thought to be affiliated with Occupy Wall Street on Wednesday chained open as many as 25 subway stations in New York City, inviting commuters to ride without paying fares.
Signs with official Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) logos were places around stations, reading, “Free Entry, No Fare. Please Enter Through The Service Gate.”
In a press advisory provided to The Village Voice, activists explained they had taken action because underfunding by the state of New York had forced the MTA to borrow heavily and raise fares to maintain service.
“Instead of using our tax money to properly fund transit, Albany and City Hall have intentionally starved transit of public funds for over twenty years; the MTA must resort to bonds (loans from Wall Street) to pay for projects and costs,” the statement said. “This means Wall Street bondholders receive a huge share of what we put into the system through the Metrocards we buy and the taxes we pay: more than $2 billion a year goes to debt service, and this number is expected to rise every year.”
Other signs posted at subway stations informed commuters of a “general strike” planned for May 1.
“No housework. No shopping. No banking. No school. No work,” the signs read.
“May Day is a holiday for the 99%,” according to a website for the protest. “It is a day for people to come together, across all those lines which too often divide us — race, class, gender, religion — and challenge the systems that create these divisions. When we come together, we recognize the common struggles we face and the common interests we have. With this collective power we can begin to build the world we want to see. Another world is possible!”
Union leaders have expressed opposition to the idea of a general strike.
Watch this video from MyFoxNY.com, broadcast March 28, 2012.