Too many social welfare recipients in Moscow receiving free rides have drained the nation’s public transportation system’s revenues.
There are 64 categories of privileged passengers in Moscow, including veterans, the elderly, pensioners, handicapped and employees of the Defense and Interior ministries. The privileged groups account for 60% of all passengers nationwide and more than 75% in Moscow, reported The Moscow Times.
In the last decade, the share of paying passengers has decreased from 80% to 40%, reported the paper. As a result, the number of public transportation vehicles has decreased and, without any compensation for carrying the privileged groups, transport companies cannot afford new vehicles.
Last year, public transport companies spent about $1.7 billion servicing privileged passengers but received only $1 billion from local and federal budgets, reported the Times. Nonprivileged passengers must also pay 20% more to help offset the cost of servicing the privileged passengers.
Since 1990, the number of public transport vehicles has fallen more than 40%, with public transport operating at only 60% capacity and fewer areas being serviced. Of the vehicles currently in service, half should have been already decommissioned for being unsafe, reported the Times.
The state budget allocated for the purchase of 4,800 new buses, 686 trolleybuses and 83 trams. The minimum number of vehicles actually needed is 13,500 buses, 1,200 trolleybuses and 600 new trams per year, reported the Times.
The Labor and Social Development, Transportation and Railways ministries are working on a federal law to address compensation for transporting privileged passengers.