SANTIAGO — Student protests over higher Metro fares caused five stations to close. Students stormed the stations and jumped over turnstiles, avoiding paying for their fare. Santiago Metro officials strongly condemned the students’ actions.
Multiple Metro Stations had to be closed on Oct. 14 and 15, due to the student protests.
According to BioBioChile, around 300 students from Liceo Siete stormed Pedro de Valdivia station on Oct. 14. They did not pay for their fare and broke a glass door during the protest. One student was arrested at the scene. The station resumed its usual service half an hour after the incident.
Four other stations also closed on Oct. 14: Quinta Normal, Cumming, Santa Isabel, and Irarrázaval. That same evening, Santa Ana station was also targeted and overrun by students.
— Felipe Henríquez Ordenes (@PipeHenriquezO) October 15, 2019
Protests in various areas continued on Oct. 15. and today, on Oct. 16, when four students were detained after storming the Santa Ana metro station.
As a result, there was a large police presence at many Metro stations on Line 1 and Line 5.
— Fabian (@fabilicious30) October 15, 2019
Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications Gloria Hutt spoke about the recent protests. “It is hard for me to understand that, when there is evidence of such a great effort to improve the public transport system, people make attempts against it, especially in the case of schoolchildren who do not have an argument.”
Subsecretary of the Interior, Rodrigo Ubilla, shared his opinion on the events. “It catches my attention that the price for metro tickets did not rise for students. And they are the ones who use this excuse as a form of protest.”
Price Increase for Metro
A new metro fare was implemented on Oct. 7. The new price is CLP$830 (USD$1.20) to use the metro during rush hour. The student and senior rates, however, did not change.
The increase was attributed to a rise in inflation, the value of the American Dollar, and workforce costs.
One Instagram account with just over 19,000 followers has been recounting the protests and sharing students’ videos. The following video shows protesters forcibly opening the gates to Santa Ana station on Oct. 14.
The majority of comments on the post are positive and celebrate the actions of the students. One comment goes so far as to say, “This is what we should fight for.”
The hashtag #evasionmasiva (massive evasion in English) was trending on Twitter for a large part of Oct. 14 and 15.
The protest is just one of many issues the Santiago Metro has faced in the last few months. Recently, there was a backlash against the plan for the new Metro Line 7.
Ana Truesdale is a British student, studying Liberal Arts at Durham Univeristy, who is currently interning at Chile Today on her year abroad. She has a strong interest in Latin American culture and journalism and wishes to experience all that Chile has to offer.