Photo: Matt H / YouTube
Last week, the MTA officially approved a proposed fare hike for New York City.On Christmas Eve, Occupy Wall Street protesters took to subways, singing carols arguing against the increased fares.
On March 1, single ride fares will rise to $2.50 from $2.25, and the cost of a 30-day pass will rise to $112 from $104.
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, who will step down on December 31 to consider a run for mayor, called the fare hike “essential” for the cash-strapped MTA, and defended it as the best way to raise funds while protecting low income riders.
The Straphangers Campaign, a NYPIRG group, argues hikes are unnecessary. It cites a plan by New York State Assemblymember Jim Brennan for a transportation bond referendum that could provide extra funds for the MTA, eliminating the need for fare hikes.
The carolers, however, put the blame on JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and AIG, and on the MTA, for entering into agreements that are profitable for the banks, not the transportation authority.
According to flyers the protesters distributed, MTA workers do not have a contract and the MTA does not plan to raise salaries for five years, and the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy was not a factor in the fare hike, which has been planned for several months.
The singing was lackluster, but the lyrics do an impressive job of explaining complex issues in rhyme:
Here’s the chorus from the Jingle Bells parody:
Two-thousand-eight was not so great for the economy
But interest rates were lowered quite dramatically
So MTA pays interest at four point five per cent
Banks return at one point six and pocket the difference
And a sample of the lyrics of “God Rest Ye, MTA Chairman”:
Despite the cuts in services
And increases in fares
The debts are insurmountable
The banks they do not care
We bear the cost of interest swaps
Though most are unaware
That their swipe goes to JPMorgan Chase
(Among other banks)
Not to transit workers don’t make no mistake.
And you may ask what can we do
Can anything be done?
It begs the greater question of how transit should be run
But till march first, bring us your worst
This battle’s far from done
And you know that we won’t quit till we’ve won
Until we have won
No we will not quit until we have won.
And here’s the video:
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