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Is the Free Swipe Becoming a Movement?

Our ally NYC the Blog -- of subway rat and abusive arrest video fame -- has taken to championing the idea of "free swiping," in which owners of unlimited Metrocards swipe riders in on their own way out as "a tiny fuck you" to the fact that the things now cost $104. One group, organized as the People's Transportation Program, with a goal of swiping as many people as possible, has been long gestating, but with this new round of fare hikes, the practice may be ramping up.

Most importantly, it's legal to swipe anyone at any time, as long as you're not selling the ride.

Russia Today even included the free swipes as part of a segment on civil disobedience in the U.S.:

And, of course, a Facebook group has popped up in support, complete with the following manifesto:

After you have paid for your very expensive unlimited card, share it with a fellow new yorker. If a person is standing by the turnstile making a swiping motion, share a swipe. Your metro card renews every 20 minutes after swiping. It is legal to use your card as many times as you want. Our goal is to keep new yorkers moving at a fast flow while making the transaction.

How to FreeSwipe: 1) Have your unlimited card out and ready to swipe someone in. 2) Tell your friends about FreeSwipe and pass on this Facebook page 3) We can help each other and fight the system.

There are currently 81 members, but its founders are confident, according to NYC the Blog:

Reached via email, Tina added things "are going really great. People are really interested...We get a few people together and gather our unlimited cards. All of us stand by the turnstile and give out swipes while handing out flyers."

Free swiping: not just for homeless people anymore! [via NYC the Blog]

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]


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