The minister of the interior and transportation Florencio Randazzo held a unsuccessful meeting with representatives of the city and province of Buenos Aires governments today in the Casa Rosada. The main objective was to analyse and negotiate the new price of the subte fare, which is set to rise to $3,50 in March. Another point of discussion was to challenge the possibility of introducing special fares during the peak hours.
Randazzo heavily criticised the city government, saying: “Macri [the city governer] is not willing to step back. [...] He treats transport as a company.” Randazzo claimed that the change of price will strongly impact on subte users and “unbalance the rest of the transport system for the metropolitan area, as the difference between subte fares and those for buses and trains will be high.”
According to the city government authorities, the intentions of Randazzo are purely political. They refused to discuss the new subte price, and Macri himself didn’t participate in the meeting. He defined his position in a speech yesterday: “We don’t have a machine that issues money, we don’t have the Central Bank. Without subsidies we can’t do anything but increase the fares.” He explained the fare change is a response to the high inflation rate in Argentina, the withdrawal of federal subsidies, and a need to improve technical maintaince of the subte.
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner assured that “public transport belongs to passengers. Different fares during the peak hours will punish the workers and students.” She added in her twitter account that the national government is “paying subsidies of nearly $5m a year.”
Management of the subte service was transferred to the city government in January 2013, thoughthe subte conflict between the national and city governments has been going on for over a year. During 2012, subte workers organised also a large number of strikes with the longest one in August (ten consecutive days).