"I believe this station will be the easiest to sneak into,
and not be injurious to our insurance fund."
Members of a group in France ride the subway and as a political statement refuse to pay the fare. But to protect themselves from any fines if they’re caught, they’ve formed a co-op insurance fund to pay any fines.
Gildas rides the subway at least three times a day, and avoids payment as "a political act." Besides, he said, "it’s quite easy."
Back in 2001 or so, he and a group of fellow travelers, in both the literal and metaphorical senses, formed the Network for the Abolition of Paid Transport, "the beginning of our struggle," Gildas calls it. The group’s initials in French mimic those of the agency that runs the Metro and buses, and to the agency’s logo, which looks like the outline of a face, abolitionists added a raised fist.
Their shared laments about oppression by official fines inspired about a dozen adherents to set up the first mutual insurance fund a few years ago.
Now at least six or seven such funds exist around Paris, some based at universities, others organized by arrondissement, or district.
The original group boasts about 20 to 30 members, people mostly between the ages of 20 and 40, including students, workers and some who are jobless, Gildas said. They meet once a month, most recently in a building on a street named for Voltaire, the philosopher whose writings influenced the revolution, near a bookshop featuring anti-fascist badges and anarchist magazines.
Paris Metro’s cheaters say solidarity is the ticket, Scofflaws who jump the turnstiles or enter through the exits have formed an insurance fund that pays if they get caught, Los Angeles Times>>