There were about a couple dozen or so people outside Yerevan City Hall today protesting the subway fare hike. Note, the one-way fare for riding the metro in the Armenian capital doubles starting today: the previous fare of 50 drams is now 100 drams (about $0.27 USD), in line with other modes of public transport such as buses, trolley buses and minibuses (commonly known as “marshrutkas”).
As told to Epress.am by protest organizer Arman Mkhitaryan, they are asking the municipality to review its decision to raise the fares.
“We’re going to submit a letter to the mayor today and wait for a response. If, as per the law, they don’t respond by Jul. 13, we are going to organize a large-scale rally on that day,” he said.
“Our Facebook group has about 5,000 visitors, but our low turnout today is conditioned by the fact that we organized the demonstration very late and not all were able to be informed,” he added.
According to another protestor, pensioner Ishkhan Tovmasyan, the subway and higher prices apply to all citizens and everyone has to participate in the protests.
“There is no limit to my happiness, when the youth wake up — if youth had stood up for every issue, we wouldn’t be in this position today. My duty is to be present there where the youth are, where justice is,” he said.
As previously reported, Yerevan mayor Karen Kareptyan responded to the public’s concerns by publishing a note on his Facebook page: “I understand your concerns on raising the metro fare. By not taking this step, we would have endangered all the necessary conditions for ensuring the operation of the subway.
“Let me also note that the 100 drams fare [for public transportation] remains the lowest fare among CIS cities. I hope you will approach this issue with understanding,” he wrote.
According to figures cited by the mayor, 20 million passengers use the Yerevan metro annually, which is 5–6% of public transport passengers in the Armenian capital. The allocation to the Yerevan metro from the state budget last year comprised 1 billion 845 million drams.