J31 Fare Strike at Grand Central Station

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1993 ... February 7, 2020

J31 Fare Strike at Grand Central Station

Coery Eiesbnreg

Just a few hours before the J31 Fare Strike convened at Grand Central Station, I had the opportunity to speak with Mayor de Blasio as a call-in to the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. I alerted the Mayor to the fare strike taking place that day, scheduled by various NYC transit advocacy groups in reaction to the 500 new Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officers Gov. Cuomo and ex-NYCTA Pres. Byford approved to monitor the subways. I mentioned that both parties publicly admitted that the purpose of the officers is not public safety, but instead to issue fines as a means of lost revenue recuperation. These officers are being deployed at a cost of $250-million over three years, or as I said, at least 2.5 million fare-evasion tickets.

Being that de Blasio has touted himself as being against over-policing and the criminalization of poverty, I asked how he could allow this to happen in his city? I continued to press him on whether he would support... a fare-free system, which studies have shown can lead to better funding of mass transit budgets.

The Mayor provided a very politically pat answer. To the point of a fare-free system, he responded that it was an interesting idea but he struggles to understand the logistics. To the issue of the 500 new MTA officers whose purpose is to penalize the impoverished without even a pretense of safety, he commented that the MTA officers would have to go through the NYPD's community policing training programs. I’ll speak to the aforementioned logistics later, but as a first-hand witness to the NYPD’s community policing tactics last night, I’d like to begin there.

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