Riga council members leave transport fares untouched

  • 2005-11-30
  • From wire reports
RIGA - The council of Rigas Satiksme (Riga Public Transportation) decided on Nov. 28 that it would not raise fares for the city's buses, trolleybuses and trams and leave them at 0.2 lat (0.28 euro) per ride.
Rigas Satiksme chairman Imants Rakins told the press that the company had decided to ask the Riga City Council for subsidies in the full amount of 15 million lats.
Last week, the company's board proposed raising the fare 25 percent to 0.25 lat, since city authorities had stated that they would not grant the company the full 15 million lats. Instead, they offered 9 million.

The price of public transportation has not risen for years, despite soaring fuel costs, over 6 percent annual inflation and signficant capital outlays for repairs and new fleets.

But city officials feared angering residents with a price-hike, particularly before an expected rise in utility fees. Russia's Gazprom is almost certain to raise prices for natural gas, which Baltic consumers will see in their monthly gas and electric bills.

What's more, Rigas Satiksme announced in November that it expected to post a 3 million lat (4 million euro) profit for 2005. The company generated 21.4 million lats in revenues in the first three quarters of the year, a 14.4 percent increase year-on-year. Executives said the increase was due to more passengers and improved efficiency in collecting fares.

Rigas Satiksme was established by merging two bus parks belonging to the city. It began operations on March 1, 2003. Also, starting this year the company has been carrying passengers by trams and trolleybuses, which had previously been under the control of Tramvaju un Trolejbusu Parvalde.

The sole owner of Rigas Satiksme is the Riga City Council.