The mayor of Belo Horizonte, Fuad Noman (PSD) presented to the councilors, on Tuesday (17), a bill (PL) that guarantees the public transport concessionaires of the capital a subsidy of R$ 237 million. The text was developed at a negotiation table between the Urban Mobility Working Group of the Municipality of Belo Horizonte, the city hall and the concessionaires.
According to those involved, the amount – which would be distributed gradually until March 2023 and will come out of the Executive and Legislative coffers – would resolve the impasse over the tariff readjustment. The expectation is that the PL will be evaluated by the councilors and sanctioned by the mayor in June. However, the agreement did not please popular movements and parliamentarians debating the agenda.
Bella Gonçalves (PSOL) denounces that, in the way it was presented to the councilors, the agreement presents a series of worrying issues, such as the lack of transparency in the application of resources and the absence of guarantee of the execution of the companies’ counterparts, which would be insufficient and would not bring improvements to users.
“The subsidy project should be linked to a reduction in the tariff price, to the guarantee of recovery of the ticketing system for the municipality, in addition to other measures and proposals that were presented at the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) of BHtrans”, opines . “Giving this resource is giving in to blackmail against the population and against the city hall”, he adds.
Increase in travel will be negligible
The agreement provides that the concessionaires must create a more effective communication channel for users’ complaints and also establish the purchase of tickets by application. The main point of the agreement is the 30% increase in the total number of trips offered. The basis for calculating the agreement is the month of March this year, when companies purposely reduced travel to pressure the city hall to readjust the fare.
The counterpart is criticized by Letícia Domingues, a member of the Zero Tariff Movement. “That’s very little compared to what the real demand is. We are negotiating on extremely low terms, it is not a subsidy with a guarantee of quality improvement”, she assesses. According movement liftingthe fleet in the capital has already decreased dramatically, from 3,048 in 2008 to 2,338 vehicles in 2022. Also according to Tarifa Zero, not all buses are running on the streets.
Renata Santos notices this decrease daily. She is a resident of the Pampulha region and works as a concierge at a Municipal Child Education Unit, in the western region of the city. To get to work, she needs to take two rides. Even leaving the house at 4 am, she can never go seated. And often, on the way home, she can’t get on the bus because of overcrowding. “It was always bad, but since the pandemic it has gotten a lot worse. It is impossible to take a bus in Belo Horizonte, in addition to being very expensive”, complains the worker.
Slow to investigate and speed to readjust
At the end of last year, the BHTrans CPI asked for the indictment of 39 people, including businessmen in the sector and company employees, for crimes such as cartel formation, misappropriation of resources and assets, among others.
For Letícia, the crimes should have been enough for the suspension of the concessionaires’ contracts. However, instead of that, the companies managed, through the Judiciary, to guarantee the readjustment in the tariff. “There is a huge concentration of power in the hands of companies and they do what they want in the city. This is the result of the way in which transport is contracted”, evaluates the activist, criticizing the lack of public control over the funds raised by the concessionaires.
The criticism is endorsed by councilor Bella Gonçalves. “The Judiciary did not appreciate the numerous illegalities and requests of the public civil action of the Public Ministry and quickly granted the increase to the companies, already shows a position of the system. The city hall also seems to be hostage to the bus mafia”, evaluates the parliamentarian.
Source: BdF Minas Gerais
Editing: Larissa Costa