People in wheelchairs chain themselves across Beacon Street to protest T fare increases

Steve Annear at BostInno posts a photo of chained Ride riders across Beacon Street today, protesting fare increases scheduled to go into effect on July 1. Alternatives for Community and Environment has more photos.

State Police have asked the city DPW to send somebody over with a bolt cutter.

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I FEEL BAD FOR THE COPS

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But I don't feel bad for the heartless sob's who believe the way out of debt is to place the burden on the poor and disabled.

Not only

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are we the wealthiest nation on earth, but we hold the most wealth the earth has ever seen.

So, where is it at? Why are we broke? How do you reconcile those two facts?

we can't both be broke and have accumulated per capita the most wealth in the history of man kind. It needs to be somewhere.

The answer is capitalism is dead and whats left is eating itself in a collusion between big business and big government. The (fiscal) tea party and OWS would do well to stop looking past each other and realize their fight is actually one of the same. Their problem step from trying to find a single institution to blame, when in fact it's both that are culpable and working together.

You do realize that...

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The "Tea Party" is just a bunch of whining social "conservative" republicans throwing a hissy fit that they can't enforce their theocratic ideals on the rest of us, right? The whole "fiscal" thing turned out to be a sham.

Polls show that the folks who identify with the "Tea Party" are just the rump of the rump.

The Tea Party was originally

The Tea Party was originally a libertarian (and as usual, small in number) group that did advocate that the government should be smaller and not spend so much. And it did have some good points, to my opinion. The visceral reaction and attacks did have a mix of straw-manning and exaggeration (like the criticism that basically call them a group of racist old white men).

In short, the economic motivations that originally spur the group (similar to Occupy) got lost to social ideas based on the majority of its membership.

You can notice that in Occupy movement too. They have openly stated that the issue is the economy sucking and making life suck- with mixed nuances of better or worse articulation. Yet, some have thrown in social issues - though of the liberal bent or since many of its members are of the younger generation, college debt. (This is why I see Occupy and Tea Party as two sides of the same coin. Both are spurred by sense of injustice in the economy. But both are getting clouded by its collective constituency's social ideas and backgrounds)

There's a few more factors to that. For example, the media portrayal had an effect on them - call a group so many times, they actually start believing it.

So there's more than just a bunch of social conservatives trying to package as economic advocacy.

Yup

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The teaparty now is very different than how it started. It was very quickly hijacked by monied interests, and it's tune changed from outrage on financial issues to those of social issues.

We've seen that spectre before and following the money it's no wonder the platform changed so quickly. It's also why the movement is now dead, being a full card carrying member of the religious right now.

It went from real fiscal and plutocratic outrage to tribalism.

OWS has been able to stay away from being co-opted, but that's also made it almost impossible for them to organize their movement into anything political. It's actually an attacked used against them, although one that has little teeth (so far).

I'd agree except...

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Where was the "Tea Party" when the Bush administration was blowing huge wads of money on unfunded wars, unfunded entitlements, and unfunded tax cuts?

same place

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the anti-war folk went when Obama spent a billion in Libia, didn't get congressional approval, nor report to them, and signed the NDAA.

I'm an Obama guy and even that pissed me off.

Iraq was orders of magnitude worse of an endeavor, but mum's the word with the Dem's on question expanses of presidential power to bolster Obamas foreign policy cred.

A lot of folks did get upset over that

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But what are you going to do? I also thought this president would end our shameful operation in Guantanamo and begin the investigation into the use of torture by the CIA.

But hey, the republicans are even worse. I can vote for Obama, or I can vote for insane religious fanatics. What kind of choice is that?

So I'm focusing instead on elections like Warren for Senate, where at least the choice is clear.

Nowhere?

The Tea Party movement didn't get going until after the 2008 election and I think the original group would argue that it came into being *because* the Bush spending spree left them without a party, so to speak.

Of course, it's a moot point because the original Tea Party was dead in the water the minute they let the big GOP spenders like Palin become their figureheads. Now they're pretty much just the religious right with a worse name.

are we the wealthiest nation

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are we the wealthiest nation on earth, but we hold the most wealth the earth has ever seen.

So, where is it at? Why are we broke? How do you reconcile those two facts?

Easy the GOVERNMENT IS BROKE because it spent well beyond its means.

PRIVATE CITIZENS ARE WEALTHY because they saved and invested their wealth wisely.

You are advocating that the government, which mismanaged its wealth into oblivion, seize the hard earned capital of private citizens. That would result in Zimbabwe given the history of the government being unable to be financially sound size maybe Calvin Coolidge was president.

I don't think

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you understand those terms, or even the context in how they go together.

Government is the private citizens and vice versa...

Private wealth is the allocation of national wealth under terms we all agree to. Nothing more, nothing less. Without government (the people) legitimizing it, there's nothing legitimizing it.

It's why we moved on from caste systems post Enlightenment. Divine royalty no longer allocated wealth, but democratic institutions based on fairness and meritocracy.

So again, how can government be broke if we're the wealthiest nation in the history on earth? Specially when the bulk of out "debt" is "owed" to ourselves.

Here's another mind bender for you, how can the government go broke "spending" "money" that it prints, backs and values itself?

Now things are a bit more complicated then all this, but the basic idea is there that you can't separate these things into nice little camps because they are really all one of the same. We're just arguing about allocation issues, or as one side loves to call it class warfare. But thats the thing, if one is class warfare, it's all class warfare.

Feel bad for the drivers

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Honestly, even supporting their position, antagonizing people through no fault of their own only ends up hurting your position.

Blocking traffic on a major road, on the wrong side of the intersection no less (thus trapping cars), is stupid.

Should have chained themselves to the state house; the people that really need to wake up about the dire situation with the T's finances.

You need to be smart about protesting now a days, as the media and your opponents will use anything against you. Don't give them fuel for the fire by providing it needlessly. It's bad PR. (disrupting traffic, vandalizing public property, impeding others ability to ignore you if they choose)

Those are important

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But this is not a major artery here. And streets are often blocked for more prosaic reasons, such as traffic jams. I support dedicated emergency/bus lanes on many such streets.

The "emergency vehicles" excuse is often used to justify wide, dangerous roads. Oddly enough, you never really see those same folks advocate for dedicated lanes, though. I wonder why.

Beacon St. in Boston

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is not a "major artery"?? I beg to differ.

That's what the plows are for

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With the warm winter we had this year, the plow drivers have to earn their pay somehow!

Your right to peacefully

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Your right to peacefully protest does not overrule my right to travel down a public street. If you feel otherwise, you need to go back to junior high social studies class.

Give me Convenience

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... or give THEM death!

Not quite

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The right to peacefully protest is enshrined in the first amendment. Any restrictions based on location are derived at the state level or lower. Therefore, the first amendment wins via the supremacy clause.

That's the theory anyway. In practice, it generally depends on whether or not your views align with the local city council. For example, Ku Klux Klan parades.

I somehow doubt that the Tea Partiers clutching their printouts of the 10th amendment realize that.

I don't understand what

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I don't understand what exactly your point is.

In any case, the Supreme Court has, on plenty of occasions, upheld time, place, and manor restrictions on free speech. It wouldn't take a hotshot lawyer to prosecute people who protested by blocking a city street.

Don't be a needless dick

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is the first commandment.

As said, the least they could do was do it in the cross walk 50 feet up, on the other side of the intersection, allowing traffic a way around them. The people in the cars aren't skirting the issue on beacon hill.

Better yet, why not chain yourself to the parking gates around the side? Block the parking lot 90% of the staffers and reps use.

All I'm saying is use your damn head. Most people in this city support the MBTA getting a revenue stream that isn't dependent on the whims of sales tax revenue. Blocking some mom trying to get her kid to the doctor's office, or a school bus, or some deliver trucks route is not going to win over people. If anything, you're going to lose support and draw ire when you do something that impacts the people you're trying to win over in the protest to start with...

Edit: looks like they did it on the "correct" side of the intersection (I thought they were in the near crosswalk at first), allowing cars the right turn to go down to tremont. Better, but still kinda shitty since there's not really another way to get downtown besides using beacon here. Point above still stands, block the statehouse parking garage next time.

It's a bit more symbolic, the response would have been more over the top, and blocking the jerks on bacon hill from getting to work because they won't fund public transit practically writes itself.

Oh the Humanity

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Perhaps police should start arresting all "excess" drivers at rush hour then?

That doesn't make sense. Just

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That doesn't make sense.

Just because there sometimes are delays caused by too many cars doesn't make it ok for a group of people to intentionally block traffic to get attention.

Be clear here: this is about their nearly-free limo service

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This is not about FARE increases. It's about the cost of a far-below-market-rate transport system called "The RIDE", where the cost of a trip is going from $2 to $4. Meanwhile, the truly poor handicapped are using the bus service at 40 cents, one tenth the cost.

That's a FLAT FEE anywhere within The RIDE's service area. You can't even GET INTO A CAB IN BOSTON for less than $2.60, and within a couple of blocks, you'll be past the $4 these people are bitching about.

The point of a public transit system is not to run a private limo system for special snowflakes who don't want to ride the bus. All our busses are now wheelchair-capable. They can get anywhere they want on any of the busses in the system for FORTY CENTS, or ONE THIRD the rate the rest of us pay. Visually impaired people still ride for FREE.

What the T is doing: reducing the subsidies for what amounts to a private limo service, which has been HEMORRHAGING MONEY and forcing them to cut back services for everyone...INCLUDING THE NON SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES IN WHEELCHAIRS WHO DO RIDE THE BUS. What about them, assholes? What are THEY supposed to do when their bus route gets culled? Call up The RIDE and pay TEN TIMES AS MUCH? I'm sure the people in wheelchairs who are on foodstamps will just LOVE being forced to increase their transportation budget by a FACTOR OF TEN because a few of you are whining about your limo service.

"Persons with disabilities can ride local buses for $0.40 cents inner express buses for $1.40, and outer express buses for $2.00. Persons with disabilities can also ride MBTA subway services for $0.60 cents and commuter rail or boat services for 50% off the regular full fare and for a discounted fare to Logan. In addition, passengers with disabilities can purchase a monthly pass (good for unlimited travel on local bus and subway) for $20. No discounts apply to express bus passes, commuter rail passes, or boat passes."

http://mbta.com/fares_and_passes/reduced_fare_prog...

Accessibility

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The T needs to do a bunch more before it can really claim that its system is completely accessible. Besides the obvious station renovations, fact is that boarding buses in practice is currently really hard for the disabled, and really terrible for keeping schedules.

Generally, buses have to fight with other cars for space and often can't pick up on the curb as they are designed, due to other vehicles blocking them. I think that the best solution is to extend the curb to the vehicle lane for all bus stops. This helps not only disabled folks, but also everyone else, shortening dwell times and making it easy for the bus to merge back into traffic quickly.

In short: doing accessibility right is also good for operations.

Beyond that -- I could be wrong but -- even if the T does make all stations and bus stops accessible, they are still legally required to offer paratransit services with a fare no more than double the standard. The disincentive is that such services must be booked in advance and are generally inconvenient for at-will travel.

It's good that they offer paratransit, but it seems to be more of a social service that gets conflated with the core mission of the T. I think that Medicare and Medicaid should be picking up some of the costs, because many of the RIDE trips are for medical purposes. Last I heard, they said that they will try to seek some remuneration from Medicaid for trips that are medical-related. But that information has to be volunteered, they cannot legally require it being divulged.

Didn't New York...

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Didn't New York figure out that it was cheaper to have the disabled take cabs on the city's dime, than it was to maintain their version of "THE RIDE?"

Why not do that here?

Reform the hack system first

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Not a bad idea. I wonder how they'd prevent discrimination by the cabbies though. I'm sure the rate for transporting special-needs passengers would be regulated low. They'd have to make sure the cabbies don't try to bleed out some extra profits from the city by taking unnecessary detours.

But you still have the problem that Boston cabs already have with regards to hack license limits and silly pickup restrictions.

Cab contracts already exist

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If you book The Ride for a time that's after business hours but during MBTA hours, they have a cab come get you.

I'd imagine that if cabs were cheaper, they'd use this option all the time, since they already have it in place and presumably know what it costs.

Here's a dare

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Every three months, get in a wheelchair and attempt to use the MBTA.

Good luck when the snow blocks all the sidewalks and city plow crews use the ramps for snow storage and bus stops for 5' piles.

Good luck in November, when it is cold and three buses "just don't see you"

Good luck waiting outside in the heat, even though you are able-bodied and thus likely to have good thermoregulation - unlike many chair users.

Perhaps you should roll a mile in their seats before you go off on how somebody you consider to be beneath you is getting something you aren't.

Don't let facts get in the way of a good rant

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In order to be eligible to use the The Ride, you have to not be able to use the fixed-route T service. You have to show that you need door-to-door service because either you don't have the cognitive ability to get on the right bus, switch lines, etc., or you can't safely travel from your house to a T stop and from the T stop to your job or your appointment or wherever.

People can also be eligible for The Ride to take them places where the route isn't accessible to them, for instance, if they can use fixed-route T service as long as there aren't stairs, but then need The Ride to take them if they're going to a stop that's only accessible by stairs.

It's not a free version of a cab service. It's an accommodation to allow everyone to use the transit service.

That being said

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Just like with many benefits, the people approving and denying the applications are inconsistent and poorly trained, and some of the clinicians filling out the applications have some pretty ableist views themselves. Any licensed healthcare provider can sign it without having any training in rehabilitation/disabilities. A lot of people will have their PCP sign it, and they'll usually sign anything for any person who has a label without even knowing to ask about someone with cognitive disabilities getting some training to learn to navigate the transit system, or someone with panic attacks working with a counselor to come up with a plan for managing this so they can take the subway some of the time, etc.

(And obviously for people with physical disabilities that aren't likely to go away, the whole system should just be made accessible to them.)

Steve Annear

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FWIW, I think Steve's last day at the Metro was this past Friday. Not sure who he's with now.

Thanks, post corrected

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I obviously didn't know that, but he's now at BostInno, based on his Twitter profile.