By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The National Transportation Agency (Agência Nacional de Transportes Terrestres, ANTT) authorized last week a six percent increase in toll cost of Rio-Niteroi Bridge and the President Dutra Highway (Rodovia Presidente Dutra), beginning August 1st. For passenger cars, the rate will increase from R$4.90 to R$5.20.
Along the President Dutra Highway (BR-116), the toll plazas Moreira Cesar, Itatiaia and Viúva Graça will be adjusted by an eight percent increase. In the case of vehicles, the value will increase from R$10.10 to R$10.90.
In the areas of Arujá, Guararema South and Guararema North, the adjustment will reach a rise of eight percent. The cost for passenger cars will increase from R$2.50 to R$2.70. In Jacarei Square, the adjustment will reach seven percent. Drivers of passenger vehicles will have to pay R$4.80, instead of the current R$4.50.
Albano Klein, fish market owner and resident of Campo Grande in Zona Oeste (West Zone) of Rio de Janeiro commutes to Niteroi on the weekends, where traffic is usually not as heavy. “I imagine people are frustrated with the increase, especially those who commute back and forth on a daily basis. Since I drive across the bridge three times a week, it’ll be an extra cost for me but hopefully it won’t hinder how long it takes me to get across the bridge,” Klein told The Rio Times.
Signs on the bridge began to disclose the adjustment for users on message boards last week along the Rio-Niteroi Bridge with information pointing to the site www.grupoccr.com.br / Dial Bridge and through the RCC Bridge (0800 022 9333), which also features the Deaf Service Center (0800 022 9330).
In March 2012, the Rio-Niteroi ferry ticket increased by sixty percent from R$2.80 to R$4.50. The rise in the ticket price was due to an audit of the ferry boat company who demonstrated “financial instability.” The company claimed it accumulated losses of R$106 million between 2003 and 2008.
Passengers who have the “Bilhete Unico” card, which allows a fixed price for bus and metro tickets, avoid the rise in costs. Those who have this card pay R$3.10 and can apply for the card at the ferry or metro station or online.
With 110,000 daily commuters who use the Rio-Niteroi ferry, passengers were not happy with the increase. “We wait in huge lines under the hot sun most of the year and still have to suffer an increase in ticket prices,” contests Camila Figeuroa, a Niteroi resident.
Since March 2012, the ferry prices have remained the same, with no confirmation of another increase for 2014. A spokesperson from Ponte Rio-Niteroi said that the adjustments are annual and according to the IPCA, Índice Nacional de Preços ao Consumidor Amplo, the official index of the Federal Government for measuring inflationary targets and public companies.