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Wednesday 21.02.2018 | Name days: Eleonora, Ariadne
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Ministry: Riga Mayor's “blizzard tickets” go against CM rules

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Nil Ushakov

By amending related rules on the use of public transport and allowing drivers to use public transport free of charge in the event of severe snowfall, actions of the Mayor of Riga have gone against the rules of the Cabinet of Ministers (CM), as concluded by the Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry (EPRDM).

The ministry believes that the new regulations set up by the Riga City Council, which provide exceptions to the currently in force regulations on the use of public transport within Riga municipality, at their core allow the use of public transport without a ticket or other document. This situation goes against the regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers, which state that a passenger’s rights to use public transport services are verified by a ticket.

Experts of the ministry have concluded that the goal of the amendments of Riga City Council is to provide benefits for specific categories of passengers. At the same time, the municipality will need to use its own budget to cover the losses created by the carrying of such categories of passengers.

In its letter to Riga City Council, the EPRDM writes that such categories of passengers are to be specifically stated in relevant rules of Riga City Council on transport fee benefits. This is why EPRDM has asked the City Council to review related rules and secure their compliance with regulations by carrying out required amendments.

The ministry also asked Riga City Council to provide explanations about expediency and calculations on the necessary funds.

As it is known, last year, Riga City Council decided to amend municipal rules and the contract with SIA Rīgas Satiksme, stating that, ”in special cases”, the Executive Director of Riga is allowed to state changes to the order in which public transport is used, including a temporary cancellation of fares.

From now on, in “special cases” such as public events, floods, heavy snowfall and other especially bad weather conditions or emergency situations, the Executive Director of Riga will be able to perform changes to the usual order of how passengers use the city’s public transport. Riga Mayor Nil Ushakov’s initiative to allow drivers to use public transport free of charge in events of heavy snowfall and blizzard, thereby reducing traffic intensity in the city, was used as the base for the amendments.

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