Subte users in Buenos Aires will face a 67% fare increase from next week after a city court ruled in favour of the hike.
A court approved the controversial decision to increase subte fares from $4.50 to $7.50. The ruling by Chamber III of the Court of Administrative Matters for the City of Buenos Aires reversed a July injunction issued by Judge Elena Liberatori.
At the request of General Auditor Facundo Del Gaiso, Liberatori suspended the proposed fare increase (resolution 2852/SBASE/2016) in order to further investigate the potential impact and need of the hike, including constitutional protections.
The Chamber’s decision has been met with substantial resistance, especially on the part of Del Gaiso. “After three months, we still do not know whether the technical value of the subway tariff is right. The Chamber lifted the injunction without resolving [the issue],” said Del Gaiso through his Twitter account.
The worry on the part of Del Gaiso and other critics is that the costs of operation for the citywide transportation system will now be transferred to users. That is, subway users will now have to pay for the maintenance, equipment expenses, and security of the subway transportation system, when they claim that those expenses should be covered the city government.
This is the third subway fare increase of the last four years, with the tariff rising in 2012 ($1.10 to $2.50), 2013 ($3.50), and 2014 ($4.50). These numbers represent a four-year increase of 309%, and with the new fare this will reach nearly 700%.
While most average city dwellers are likely to feel the full impact of the fare increase, some citizens will have the possibility to benefit from discount fares. The new rate proposes a $4 fare for retirees, as well as those individuals with mobility issues.
Some passengers and commuters can also benefit from a “frequent user” discount of 20-40%, depending on the number of journeys taken per month.
While the new fare will likely take effect from Monday 31st October, those opposed promise to continue their battle against the increase.
As leftist leader Alejandro Bodart of the MST-Nueva Izquierda said: “Tomorrow we will appeal this divided and unfounded ruling, which does not answer any of our arguments about the inflated costs and the uncertain fate of millions in subsidies to the dealership service.
“Unfortunately, once again the judiciary functions for the city government and the [private operating] company Metrovias.”