By Michela DellaMonica and Maria Lopez Conde, Contributing Reporters
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Seven months after a R$0.20 increase in bus fares across Brazil stirred the largest protest movement Brazil has seen since the 1980s, Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes announced that city bus fares will increase to R$3, nine percent more than the current R$2.75 price. The decision comes one day after Rio’s Court of Auditors (TCM) recommended that the fare be readjusted.
According to mayor Paes, the new price hike will be accompanied by improvements to the city’s bus services. In the next thirty days, the city will have “a plan determining that on December 31, 2016, all vehicles should be equipped with air conditioning.”
Additionally, the city of Rio de Janeiro will closely monitor the procedure to grant concessions to bus companies through a new body, the Monitoring Committee of the Public Passenger Transportation by Bus (SPPO), made up of the city’s Secretariat of Staff, Department of Transportation, the Comptroller General and the General Attorney.
The mayor’s office also promised more oversight of city buses through an additional one hundred municipal guards trained by the municipality’s Secretariat of Transportation. In December 2013, Paes had announced that the TCM had been analyzing city bus expenses and concessions in order to determine whether prices should increase.
Although the municipal law stipulates that bus fares must be readjusted once a year, the last hike occurred in January 2012. In June 2013, an attempt to increase fares from R$2.75 to R$2.95 prompted a massive widespread protest movement over Brazil’s inadequate public services, among others.
The protests were largely credited for the government’s decision to retreat from the fare increase, returning bus ride prices to R$2.75. In response, two demonstrations against the R$0.25 hike took place in Rio de Janeiro’s Tijuca neighborhood and central station on Thursday afternoon.
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