Transit advocates came out fighting against MBTA fare increases at a Wednesday state transportation meeting.
Flanked by two men clad in boxing gloves, Caroline Casey of the T Riders Union blasted plans to increase fares and criticized T management for relying on higher fares to balance the authority’s budget.
“You are in the unique position to protect riders from harmful and unnecessary hikes and cuts,’’ Casey told members of the MBTA’s control board.
The pugilistic theatrics came during a joint meeting of the boards that oversee the MBTA and the state’s Department of Transportation. The control board is expected to vote on potential fare increases in early March.
The board is mulling plans that could increase by nearly 10 percent, with the costs of some T passes increasing by more than that.
The riders union believes the T can close a pending $242 million operating budget gap without raising fares, in part by using money from the legislature, but T management has said it wants to put those funds toward capital costs, such as repairs and maintenance.
The T Riders Union has relied on the boxing metaphor in recent weeks, saying riders are facing off against reigning champion “Mr. Hikes.’’
Casey said the public input process about fare hikes, which began in January and ends this week, had been inadequate.
In anticipation of public hearings on the hikes, the T Riders Union and its parent organization Alternatives for Community and Environment have circulated a faux big-fight flier online. They have staged fake boxing matches to show Mr. Hikes getting pummeled during hearings.