Friday, May 11, 2001

Boston Metro overcomes obstacles

The free Boston Metro, which launched only last week, prevailed in a fight over whether it can distribute at subway stations. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority started confiscating news racks for the new paper even before it began publishing. Publisher Russel Pergament told Editor & Publisher that all he wanted was to have Metro treated like Boston's other dailies, The Globe and the Herald. Transit authorities used some of the excuses free daily publishers are used to hearing from government officials -- like the one about how a free daily creates litter problems. Pergament also complained that his hawkers, who tend to be Hispanic and black, were singled out by transit agency inspectors. He called that racial discrimination. Now the transit agency is backing off and letting Metro distribute side by side with the big papers. What's more, the Globe has reduced its price from 50 cents to 25 cents near transit stations.