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Citizen’s Movement blocks bus fare hike

April 4, 2013

The ongoing dispute over bus prices in Jalisco continued this week, with the Citizen’s Movement (MC) quickly putting a halt to a one-peso rise in fares implemented on Tuesday.

Hours after bus drivers began charging seven pesos instead of six, MC leader Enrique Alfaro filed an injunction with the State Administrative Tribunal (EAT) to suspend the hike in fares.

This marked the third occasion in the last year that a rise had been blocked, with the Federation of University Students (FEU) and the Civil Conscience organization having both taken legal action to prevent a hike in September.

Bus drivers across Guadalajara accepted the suspension and soon reverted to charging six pesos, with traffic police reporting no irregularities on Wednesday and no sign of a repeat of the strikes that crippled the metropolitan area in November.

“As a citizen, I disagree with increases in transportation fares while there are no substantial improvements (in service),” Governor Aristoteles Sandoval said, before ruling out a government subsidy of bus fares due to “insufficient resources.”

Sandoval denied responsibility for the short-lived increase, asserting that is was authorized by a tariff council, not his administration, but Alfaro accused the state government of having agreed to the raise in fares.

Alfaro pointed out that several members of Sandoval’s cabinet, such as former Guadalajara and Zapopan mayors Francisco Ayon and Hector Vielma, had voted in favor of raising bus fares last August, when only Alfaro’s municipality of Tlajomulco, the FEU and the Mexican Employers Association (Coparmex) voted against the measure. Alfaro also slammed Sandoval’s promise to provide free public transport for students as “a trick” and a “vile deception” based on faulty calculations.

Meanwhile, in light of the attempted hike, the FEU called for the state government to implement a complete overhaul of public transport in Jalisco. “What will they do with public transport that has already left more than 19 dead so far this year?” asked FEU President Marco Nuñez. “What will they do with public transport that remains inefficient and ineffective with lousy service?”

Although a one-peso rise in bus fares might not seem significant, such a development would have a severe impact on the lives of the poorest members of society.

Those who work a six-day week and take two buses per day currently spend 360 pesos per month on public transport. This would rise by 16 percent to 434 pesos if fares were increased to seven pesos, or 868 pesos for those who take four buses a day.

This is a significant chunk of the minimum wage of 1,942 pesos per month, which is already well below the cost of the basic “canasta” (basket) of food and essential supplies for a family of four, estimated by the University of Guadalajara at 6,570 pesos per month.


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