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Did Someone Pull a Free Fare Fast One on the MTA?

Protesters, or maybe pranksters, gave many commuters a Wednesday morning transit treat.

Straphangers scored a free ride from the Fort Hamilton F/G station Wednesday morning, thanks to an anonymous group railing against service cuts, fare hikes and working conditions for transit employees.

In a post to a neighborhood listserv, resident Steve LeVine said he entered the station just after 8 a.m. and saw someone dressed in an MTA worker's uniform hanging a sign (posted above), while another held the service gate open, waiving people through as the alarm blared.

Designed to look like an official MTA notification, the sign's fine print reveals that it was decidedly not. (A call to their press office confirmed this.)

The fine print reads:

"The MTA strives to make the highest profits off your commute. We apologize for the recent service cuts and fare hikes but they were necessary to pay our friends on Wall Street. Enter this station for free through the service entrance. Be prepared for expanded free service until the resolution of contract negotiations in favor of TWU Local 100."

Alan Saly, director of publications for TWU Local 100, said that while the transit union was not involved in this morning's machinations, he does support the general concept behind the signage.

"It's true that banks are profiting from the transit system and riders are suffering, but we weren't involved in that," he said. "We’re not encouraging anyone to not pay a fare."

The MTA referred further comments to the NYPD, who claimed no knowledge of the event.

According to Gothamist, Fort Hamilton Parkway was just one of more than 20 stations across the city opened by the group.

Occupy Wall Street members claimed to have been in on the fare fixing stunt.

Did you see the sign this morning? Did you enter the station for free? Tell us in the comments.

Sara March 28, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Wow. This is unreal. I have to say it's kind of amazing that people got to ride for free, but yikes....
Kourtney March 28, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Pretty witty on behalf of the wall street protestors. I wonder what other schemes they have up their sleeves. Wouldn't mind seeing one of those signs on the "L" train.
james March 29, 2012 at 03:06 AM
So let's keep the subway system healthy by depriving it of revenue it needs for survival? Uh, I'm missing something here.
Johnnie March 29, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Great prank. But not effective, except for giving the MTA an excuse to divert resources to watch for more pranksters. Bravo. And did the Union rep email that comment? Because if he did, he misspelled "fare."
Curiositykilledthecat March 29, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Whatever they were trying to convey, I thought this prank was clever. However, there is so much ignorance in the accompanying prose, I can't take them seriously. The MTA is profiting? It's a government agency, they don't reap profits that get paid off to shareholders or owners. And the beef with MTA bond costs? Municipal bonds are the equivalent of a person taking out a mortgage to buy a home--the MTA can't just produce the incredible amount of cash required for its capital projects (think the bridge renovation over the Gowanus, or the 2nd Avenue Subway) from cash flow. Public entities take out bonds to make capital improvements, and pay them back over time.


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