By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Even though the last increase in bus fares had triggered mass protests around the country and had to be postponed from June 2013 to February 2014, Rio’s Prefeitura (city government) decided to go for another heavy increase in transportation prices for the new year. Municipal bus rides will cost R$3.40 as of Saturday, January 3rd, an increase which is at 13.3 percent almost double last year’s inflation.
The increase of the pay-per-ride rate by forty centavos is the highest rise percentage-wise since 2006 according to calculations by O Globo, making commuting in Rio even more expensive than it already was. The second biggest increase had occurred just in 2012 when prices rose from R$2.50 to R$2.75.
Intermunicipal buses will also increase their fares heavily a week later on January 10th. Those rates will increase overall by 12.46 percent. The Bilhete Único transportation card will still charge the old rates for another month before rising as well.
Also increasing are the fares of Rio’s taxi rides. The 33,000 yellow cabs will newly start their journeys at R$5.20 instead of R$4.80, an increase of around five percent. The kilometer during weekdays and Saturdays from 6AM to 9PM rises from R$1.95 to R$2.05, whereas the Sunday and night rate goes from R$2.34 to R$2.46.
The charge for bags increases from R$1.95 to R$2.05 per item, but should be only charged when the driver has to handle the baggage. Taxi prices in Rio had last increased a year ago on January 2, 2014.
The Prefeitura had cited the installation of air conditioning and the heavy usage of free rides guaranteed by law as reasons for the increases in prices. However, this reasoning has been challenged by city councilman Paulo Pinheiro, who promised to fight for another CPI bus commission investigating the city’s bus system and rates.