Natal Brazil

Information about the city of Natal, in Brazil.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Free service bus within University to cease

For nearly ten years now, there has been a bus service (known as "Circular") which runs around the main campus of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, for free. Students take the bus to move inside the campus, or to get to the external boundaries and take another bus.

Passengers don't pay because the service is fully subsidized. Now, the Secretary of Transportation is considering to stop the service. The idea is to include all the paid lines which cross the campus (and possibly add other lines) into the system of Transfer Stations; by this system, passengers can take several buses with only one ticket (as long as they change buses inside the Transfer Stations).

Of course, students are against the measure; public manifestations are expected. Students say that, by obliging them to pay for transportation, the Government is against Education.

It is estimated that nearly 50% of passengers of buses in Natal has some kind of subsidy. For example, by force of law, people over 60 years old are exempted from paying. Students, both from public and private schools, pay half fare. Certain categories like police and mailmen also travel for free.
The consequence is that the cost of transportation must be paid by those who don't have subsidies; this includes the majority of the working class.
With the low salaries paid in Brazil (minimum wage is R$ 350), the cost of transportation (a bus ride costs R$ 1.45, with an increase due soon) may be a significant share of the income.

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