The Caracas Metro, an underground transportation system, began this Monday to charge 0.01 US cents for each trip on board its trains, as part of the government plan that includes a progressive increase in public service rates for Venezuela, some of which have been free for years.
The Metro, which is used every day by a million people in the Venezuelan capital, has thus resumed the collection of its rates, after it has operated for free since 2019.
The Executive tried, at least on two occasions, to increase the rates in underground transport but the prices set were swallowed up by hyperinflation and the daily devaluation of the Venezuelan currency against the US dollar, the sign with which most transactions are completed. in the country.
Now him Metro started selling “smartcards” with which users will access their first 20 trips for a price of 900,000 bolivars, $0.50.
Once that first payment is consumed, each trip will cost 20,000 bolivars (0.01 US cents), with which 1 dollar will be enough to pay for 93 tickets.
The price of the card, which continues to be that of the cheapest transport in the country, is equivalent to half of what some 10 million people receive each month in Venezuela for the concept of minimum wage or payment of pensions.
The Minister of Transport, Hipólito Abreu, indicated, through his account on the social network Twitter, that this new payment method had started with “success” and that it is a “system developed with national engineering to further advance in the digital economy ”.
Efe visited several stations of the Caracas Metro, in the west and east of the city, and was able to verify that although in some cases they are charging users 0.50 dollars to access, there are other destinations in which this new one did not start. modality, so that travelers continued to enter the platforms without paying.
The underground system spent several months without staff at its service posts and in recent years it has registered a deterioration in its facilities that include the lack of lighting and cleaning, the decrease in the number of available trains, the shortage of personnel, electrical failures. and increased insecurity.
The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has insisted in recent weeks on the need to “honest” the rates of public services, considering that citizens are willing to pay for the improvement of electricity supply or internet speed.
”The people want public services to improve and are willing to pay for them (…) You have to charge fair prices for public services to improve them. Each governor and mayor needs resources to improve their entity and municipality , said the president in February.
Mature announced that the new rates in the Caracas Metro will be a test for a subsequent increase in the surface transportation system, also with electronic charging.
“Everyone, everyone, everyone to pay public services, the rates in Venezuela are absolutely supportive” he insisted.
Although state bills for electricity, domestic gas, internet and drinking water are less than 10 dollars a month, at least in the case of residential use, these services have daily failures that have caused numerous street protests throughout the country.
Private providers of telephony, internet and urban cleaning began to raise their rates almost monthly, while, according to estimates, about 80% of the population remains in extreme poverty with less than 10 dollars a month.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.