NEW YORK CITY, December 21 — Another chapter in this city’s Great Train Robbery is being written by the bosses’ Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) upon their decision to raise subway and bus fares through the “back door.”
Amid some big public relations hoopla by Gov. Eliot Spitzer about “freezing” the $2 fare — implying that there would be no fare hike — the MTA is increasing the unlimited monthly Metro pass by 6.6% to over $80. This despite their admission that it will have more than a half-billion dollar surplus at the end of 2007. Use of the straight $2 fare accounts for only 14% of transit revenues while the monthly pass brings in over 30%.
This fare hike will hit low-income families particularly hard, the greater proportion of which are black and Latino. It will become more difficult to buy the unlimited monthly Metro cards (with its discounts) since one must lay out a larger sum initially.
The racist nature of the increase is exposed in the MTA’s raising commuter fares — used by an overwhelmingly higher-income white population — only half as much: 3.76%.
The MTA bosses’ excuse for the fare raise is “to prepare financially for large deficits…in 2009….expected because of increased debt service.” Debt service is the nice way of saying billions of dollars in interests to the banks. These, of course, are the same banks who have robbed homeowners of billions in the subprime mortgage scam and will try to recoup any bankers’ losses by squeezing whatever they can out of the working class. Interest on transit “debt service” is the first expense the MTA must pay out, before operating costs, maintenance, workers’ wages or anything else.
This is the way the capitalist system works: profits first, workers last. Mayor Bloomberg himself has a $6 billion fortune, stolen from the working class. No wonder we call it the dictatorship of the bosses. Only a workers’ dictatorship through a communist revolution can end such robbery.
Transit fare hikes, mortgage foreclosures, mass layoffs and tax cuts for the rich suck money out of our class while the rulers spend $12 billion a month of our tax money on imperialist wars for control of oil in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The transit union leaders and other hacks utter hardly a whimper about these fare increases, much less organizing a mass campaign to oppose them. Instead they tell us to vote for a “lesser evil” politician to “save us” from such robbery. In many other countries like France, Italy and Brazil, despite the union sellouts, workers fight such hi-jacking of their pockets by taking to the streets, battling the cops and even burning buses and trains. U.S. bosses will get away with such robbery as long as we, the workers, let them. It’s time we united our class in organized mass opposition to these attacks, one big step on the road to revolution to destroy this oppressive system.