Chilean protests bring attention to MTA issue


Mario Robero Duran Ortiz

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ahsan Mushtaq

On Oct. 14, Chilean high school students protested a fare hike of 30 Chilean pesos which is roughly a 4 cent increase in U.S. dollars.

The Chilean teenagers who hopped the turnstiles weren’t wrong for doing so, and most New Yorkers would agree. Decades of neoliberal policies can hurt lower income and middle-class communities to tremendously, and cause wealth inequality to balloon.

The economic policies of Augusto Pinochet, a military dictator in Chile who ruled from 1973 to 1990, have had long term effects on the Chilean people. The cause for this, as many U.S. interventions, is threatening socialist policies and U.S. corporate interests.

Economist Milton Friedman espoused “free market” deregulation and the spread of private enterprise, The Nation summarized. 

Though many of these policies are very stimulating to economies, they don’t come without a price, and sometimes the price is too high. 

While Chile is the richest country in South America, it has it owns flaws. “Chile remains the most unequal country in the largely-developed Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with an income gap 65% wider than the OECD average,” Reuters reports. 

It is common sense that in a privatized economy, those with the lowest amount of capital are unable to do much. 

There have been many of us who have simply become accustomed to the rising costs of transportation, while others have been protesting.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York, which comfortably raises prices, shouldn’t simply resort to more policing and threatening posters, or else we will soon see a state of unrest like Chile.

Many people note out the unfair hold the MTA has on its commuters but the most prevalent reason as to why it would be tough to protest the MTA is the necessity for public transportation in New York City. 

The MTA is the only way to get to school, work and around the Triboro. 

MTA representatives should make no mistake, decades of neoliberalism and rampant corruption has also hurt many in this country. The over policing in NYC has led to strict enforcements of protests which requires permits to protest, excessive surveillance and excessive fines. The latest fare hike in 2015 caused the price of a single MetroCard ride to go from $2.50 to $2.75, The HuffPost states. 

If a $3 MetroCard comes, the MTA should not expect fare evasions to decrease or people to remain calm any longer. It would be foolish to compare the policing system of the United States and Chile, but the people of the United States have many reasons to protest. Capitalism isn’t unfavored in our pursuit of the American Dream but the MTA shouldn’t push people to their limits.