Mayor of Riga: free public transport is luxury we cannot afford08.08.2012, 10:30
Nils Ushakovs, mayor of Riga, said in an interview to Latvia Radio this week that it was impossible for Riga at this point to make public transport free.
Ushakovs said that City of Riga would lose about 50 million euros a year in fare if public transport were free. “At this point it is unthinkable for the capital city and far beyond our means,” he said.
At the same time Riga City Government has been actively studying Tallinn’s plans to introduce free public transport.
Recently, a delegation from the Riga City Council was in Tallinn to study the campaign.
Ushakovs said that he agreed in principle that introduction of free public transport would help the city’s population to become economically more active, but said that the benefit from free public transport would not be big enough to offset costs.
The mayor of Riga said that pensioners were already allowed to travel in public transport for free and that starting from September 1, also all schoolchildren would be able to travel free. The latter would cost the city about 4.3 million euros a year.