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City news, 29.12.2009 15:57

Transport Fares To Go Up on New Year’s Day

Transport Fares To Go Up on New Year’s Day Public transport fares in St. Petersburg will be increased from Jan. 1, following the third round of price hikes in the last two years. Metro fares will be raised from 20 to 22 rubles ($0.68) and over-ground transport (buses, trolleybuses and trams) from 18 to 19 rubles ($0.64) per journey.

St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko, who signed the City Hall decree on the prices rises last month, described the increases as “small.”

“I don’t think it’s a high price for a comfortable metro system with new stations and new capabilities,” she said at the official opening of Zvenigorodskaya Metro station on Saturday, Baltinfo reported.

“The metro was, is and will be subsidized, but we won’t be able to cope without raising fares.”

The most popular form of public transport in St. Petersburg, serving 829.8 million passengers per year in 2007, the metro has been affected by the economic recession over the past year.

The number of passengers has fallen by 12 percent since Oct. 2008, Izvestiya quoted St. Petersburg Metro Chief Vladimir Garyugin as saying last week.

The metro fare, which was 14 rubles in Jan. 2008, has been raised twice since then. Privately owned “marshrutka” or “route” minibuses followed by raising their fares as well. The most recent fare rise was met with public protests.

Maxim Reznik, the local leader of the oppositional democratic party Yabloko, argued that the rise is only appears to be small, though the small sums add up to “a huge amount of money.” According to him, the main problem is the lack of transparency.

“We think that such things can’t be done without auditing and analyzing what is incorporated in the price,” Reznik said by phone on Sunday.

“The authorities do it unilaterally. benefiting from the lack of an independent parliament in the city, which would analyze the price and find out what the actual value of the ride is and how much goes to bureaucracy or anything else.”

News source: The St. Petersburg Times

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