Major opposition groups have challenged the decision of the Armenian authorities to raise bus fare rates in Yerevan beginning this weekend.
In a statement issued on Thursday the Political Council of the Armenian National Congress described this decision as unconstitutional.
“Under Article 107 of Armenia’s Constitution it is the Council of Elders of a community that sets local taxes, duties and payments. It means that the decision about raising public transport fare rates in Yerevan is unconstitutional and has no legal force.”
The Barev Yerevan bloc, an opposition group in the Yerevan Council of Elders including members of the opposition Heritage party, also expressed its resentment over the decision to raise the fares. It said it did not see valid reasons for the rise and called on the ruling majority to convene a special session of the Council of Elders on this matter.
The Yerevan Municipality announced on Thursday that bus and minibus fare rates will go up by 50 percent and trolleybus fare will be doubled beginning on July 20.
According to Head of the Yerevan Mayor’s Office Transport Department Henrik Navasardyan, the new tariffs for (mini)buses and trolleybuses will be set at 150 and 100 drams (about 35 and 25 cents), respectively.
Navasardyan said that the increase in public transport fares is connected not only with the recent rise in natural gas and electricity tariffs, but is also prompted by other business considerations. Thus, he said, the new fare rates will enable companies to upgrade their vehicles and improve the quality of service.
“We are aware that an increase even by one dram will affect the population, but there is no alternative,” the official said.
Meanwhile, lots of groups have been opening on Facebook calling on citizens to refuse to pay 150 drams for a ride and urging them to stage protest actions over the fare rise.