Hobson arrested in bus fare increase protest: 1970
Activist Julius Hobson is arrested July 10, 1970 after paying only 25 cents of a new 32 cent Washington, D.C. bus fare as part of an organized protest against the hike.
A coalition of citizens’ groups, six of whose members were arrested for failing to pay the proper D.C. Transit bus fare, were campaigning to lower the fare to 25 cents.
A total of 16 people were arrested and charged $10 collateral and released.
The protest took root on the Benning Road/H Street corridor with up to half the passengers paying less than the new fare.
The Washington Post wrote:
“Bus operators were instructed to ask passengers for the correct fare, and if riders refused to pay, to stop at the nearest phone and call their dispatcher, who would either send police or tell the driver to continue his run.”
“One driver, on the Seat Pleasant-Lafayette Square run, Joe Faysey, followed his instructions yesterday morning at about 8:15 a.m. when five teenage girls paid only quarter fares after boarding the bus at 12th and H Streets NE.”
“His dispatcher instructed Faysey to sit tight until police arrived. The passengers on the packed bus asked why it wasn’t moving, then started getting off. By the time a police car arrived at 8:50, the bus was empty.”
Other coalition members arrested were Pride Inc. chair Marion Barry; John L Gibson an anti-poverty organization in Montgomery County; and Sammie Abbott and Rev. Joe L. Gibson and the Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis.
Hobson would reprise his arrest in 1972 in another campaign that involved a bus boycott against higher fares.
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Photo by Brig Cabe. The image is courtesy of the D.C. Public Library Washington Star Collection © Washington Post.