'Vivi' trains get street art again

Last week, there was information that two new electric trains had been painted with some graffiti in Riga at night at the train depot. The train operator Vivi told Latvian Television's 4. studija that trains are insured against similar cases.

Sigita Zviedre, head of communications and marketing at Vivi, said the loss estimate for clearing each graffiti ranges from 700 to 1,200 euros.

“Already when purchasing these new electric trains, the requirement was that the exterior be durable and easy to clean, knowing how active this vandalism culture is, not only in Latvia but also elsewhere in the world. Since it was already clear that such cases would happen and that these graffiti would have to be cleaned away, trains are also insured against such cases,” Zviedre noted.

The insurance compensation limit for graffiti designation risk is set at EUR 50,000.

Graffiti on trains has historical significance, street artist Dainis Rudens told LTV. Historically the first graffiti was drawn on trains running from one end of town to another, he said.

“Then there was a sort of comparison with styles, sense of color and who is more capable of painting something more voluminous. It must be distinguished that graffiti is vandalism at its base; it is the writing of one's name with the aim of promoting oneself. These trains are a very hot topic. Of course, from a public point of view, it's not good because we all end up paying for it,” said the artist.

Last year, 30 cases were identified where trains were drawn on.

LTV met Dainis in the Sarkandaugava district, a private area where its owner has allowed legal graffiti drawing, where anyone can come and express themselves. In a year, 180 graffiti and street art drawings have been created here. Admittedly, the municipality is not responsive enough to allow similar places elsewhere.

“We are horrified that the streets have been marked, painted on. We are horrified, we condemn, but what have we done to prevent it from happening? Have we somehow adapted the environment and come forward? We can then remove all traffic lights on Brīvibas Street and be horrified that crashes are happening,“ Dainis said.

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