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Ceturtdiena 02.04.2020 | Name days: Imgarde, Irmgarde

«Riga’s residents overpay.» Kleins proposes terminating contract with Rīgas karte

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 Druvis Kleins, Riga City Council, Rīgas karte, Rīgas satiksme, public transportRiga City Council vice-chairman and shareholder in municipal company LLC Rīgas satiksme (RS) Druvis Kleins, has ordered the company’s lawyers to assess the option of quickly terminating the contract with LLC Rīgas karte (RK), as confirmed by Kleins, who represents For Riga! bloc in the city council.

He notes that after going through all audits performed in RS and opinions of independent experts it became clear the capital city’s residents overpay for transport services.

«No one can say RS’ financial losses are in no way related to public transport service discounts,»

said Kleins, adding that any decision regarding discounts for a specific group of residents should be followed up by a political decision from Riga City Council regarding provision of grants from the municipal budget.

«We should not speculate with manipulated information reported by the media in regards to allegedly planned cancellation of public transport service discount for one or other group of residents,» said Kleins.

He explained that it is necessary to understand that RS is sustained not by Riga City Council deputies, but Riga’s residents and their taxes. On top of that, with grants as big as they are now RS could afford to carry all Riga residents free of charge, not just specific groups.

Kleins says there are other problems that have to be resolved.

«I believe RS should immediately terminate all contracts that are not beneficial to Riga’s residents,»

said Kleins, mentioning the rejection of the «outdated, expensive and unprofitable e-ticket system» and disadvantageous vehicle insurance conditions.

Kleins says he has already given RS lawyers the order to assess and prepare a report on the termination of the ‘obviously disadvantageous contract’ with RK as soon as possible.

When asked what he means with «as soon as possible», Kleins said he does not know for sure, because this is something for lawyers to decide how quickly it can be done.

When asked if the municipality could be forced to pay a penalty for terminating the contract with RK prematurely, Kleins said he has not seen a report mentioning any penalties. He has heard there is one, however. «This is why I want to have a look at it. It is possible there are options to gradually perform some processes,» said Kleins.

When asked if Riga City Council is prepared to pay a penalty for terminating the contract, Kleins said he cannot speak for the city council, stressing, however, that it is necessary to think how RS intends to make ends meet.

Nevertheless, when asked who would provide services if the contract with RK is terminated, Kleins said that based on what he has read and discussed with experts, the service may be partially covered by RS subsidiary Rīgas acs, which could afford to do it at lower costs.

Kleins is confident that by completing necessary conditions RS could significantly improve their financial indexes and return to growth. He said adoption of free public transport for all of Riga’s residents without increasing grants from the city council may be possible starting with 2021.

«These are the most topical problems the new RS council and board should work with, and their resolution should be the highest priority,» said Kleins.

Read also: Kleins: we may have to review who receives public transport discounts in Riga

As previously reported, several days after becoming Riga’s vice-mayor and shareholder of RS, Kleins decided to partially replace the company’s council, dismissing council chairman Normunds Narvaišs and council members Ainārs Ozols and Andrejs Pančenko.

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