ARF Demands End to Bus Fare Hike
YEREVAN—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia on Monday issued a statement condemning a decision by Yerevan city government to increase prices of public transportation in the city by 50 percent. Below is the English translated text of the announcement.
ARF Supreme Council of Armenia condemns the unsubstantiated 50 percent increase in the price of public transportation by the government. This step is unacceptable by political, economic, social and legal perspectives.
During the election campaign, the authorities were promising that there would not be an abrupt increase in prices and were pledging real growth in quality of life. However, after the elections, price increases in gas, electricity and other basic essentials were followed by the public transportation fare hikes. Once gain they deceived the public, creating an atmosphere of mistrust in the future and a sense of being not protected.
The explanation by officials that increase in gas and electricity prices are not connected to the fare hike is illogical. If that assertion is true then the government is running a policy that advances the interests of a few over the needs of the public. If the assertion is false, then the authorities are, once again, deceiving the public and experts in the field by stating the increase in gas and electricity prices will result in only a 2.7 percent inflation. In both instances, the political leadership is operating to the detriment of society.
From a socio-economic perspective, this step by the political leadership contradicts international norms and practices where competition is the best indicator of price setting. However, in the public transportation sphere, for example the administration of the trolley lines, a system marrying political and economic interests has become a monopoly of influential people. International norms have shown that prior to or immediately following an objective increase of prices the there is national increase on wages. Such a thing has not taken place in Armenia. The best examples from international experience are plans that feature multiple rates, discount plans, transportation cooperatives and the execution of bundled transportation tickets, which financially enhance the transportation system, enlarge public oversight, increase the flow of passengers and make rates affordable.
Thus, the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia:
1. Condemns the Armenian government’s shortsighted policies;
2. Demands that the decision to increase public transportation prices be halted and any fare increases be carried out through a transparent mechanism corresponding to the increase of wages;
3. Suggests the establishment of a public-expert group, to develop and propose a legal-collective system that includes multiple rate plans, discount systems, formation of transportation cooperatives;
4. Welcomes and expresses it solidarity with those groups and youth who are expressing their anger at this disgraceful decision and through their activism are defending their and the public’s rights.
ARF Supreme Council of Armenia
July 22, 2013