In Rīga public transport, the new ticket tariff system has been in operation since the beginning of the year. The regular bus-takers were generally satisfied with this, but the occasional ones have mentioned that the new tariffs are not beneficial.
One of the groups is students who used to pay 30 cents for a single ticket and 16 euros for a monthly ticket. The one-off ticket is no longer discounted and costs EUR 1.50. On the other hand, the price of the monthly ticket has fallen and now costs EUR 15.
Students are frustrated. In less than three days, they conducted a survey of nearly 7,000 students. According to data, 70% of students spent up to €10 a month before price changes for public transport in Riga. Nearly half now spend at least €11 and over a third – more than €15.
The Student Union of Latvia has turned to Rīga City Council for the problem, which is not prepared to bring the discounts back.
"In view of the energy price crisis and inflation, a large part of universities are now organizing their studies remotely, which means that different costs, such as electricity, fall on the shoulders of students. One of the problems is that the financial support for students from the country is still only €140 per month. This [tariffs in Riga public transport] is an additional blow to the students' budget, that there is no way to buy cheaper trips.
"Until these changes, the data show that most didn't buy a monthly ticket, which means they realized it was more cost-effective for them to ride for 30 cents, because if the studies are partly remote or part-time, they do not need to use public transport regularly during that period, but only occasionally, which means that the system of individual tickets is more flexible. We wonder why Rīga is not prepared to take care of students as a socio-economic group and understand that they have different needs for public transport and other habits than other groups of society," said Liene Levada, president of the Student Union of Latvia.
Riga Vice Mayor Vilnis Ķirsis has met with students but according to his office, this is "not a political issue". The City Council noted that the previous fare system was too fragmented, but it has now been simplified.