Drivers demand an increase in fares but authorities refuse, resulting in the strike
Minibus drivers in Abkhazia have announced that they will be going on strike, demanding an increase in fares. Meanwhile, passengers are being served by buses and trolleybuses which cannot cope with the strain of all the people who now need to make use of these services.
The drivers demand a raise in fare from 15 rubles [about 24 cents] to 20 rubles, claiming that the maintenance costs on vehicles have increased over the last few years as has the fuel price.
However, these demands are not new. The drivers have been asking for an increase in tariffs for over three years. In April, they again turned to city authorities with the same demand. However, the authorities refused to change the tariffs, pointing to the difficult social and economic situation of the people who live there.
After this, most of the drivers just decided to change the prices themselves. This caused outrage on social media and was followed by the authorities stepping in. The drivers, who apparently had violated the pricing policy, was threatened with having their licenses taken away.
After that, the minibusses stopped running.
There are very diverse opinions on social networks about what happened:
“Our Messieurs do not travel with minibusses. They have free Lexus and free gasoline.”
“A few years after the [last] fare increase, the ruble fell substantially, but the price of gasoline had kept on rising.”
“This private transport market was created spontaneously. It has its own rules. The authorities do not have their own transport, and so they cannot compete with private owners. This is why it’s impossible to impose their rules on minibuses.”
“Authorities create only requirements, not conditions.”
“Create conditions!?” They [the drivers] can drive drunk, they do not follow the traffic rules, they can start racing in the opposite lane with a minibus full of people. If the authorities do not control everything, they will do whatever they feel like.”