YEREVAN — After six days of protests over the rise in public transport fares in Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan has suspended his decision to raise the fares until mechanisms are developed to ensure that it does not hit the poor.
The Yerevan Municipality released a statement, which reads: “It is obvious that we cannot lay the burden of fare rise on socially vulnerable sections of the population. Complete formation of the system will take about a year, but this burden has been placed on pensioners, students and other socially vulnerable sections. I have ordered a commission to be formed of professionals and interested people to work out mechanisms that would allow us to review the fare rates…”
Hundreds of mostly young activists were continuing social protests against the rise in public transport fares in Yerevan. They had urged commuters to continue to pay 50 and 100 drams per ride. Leaders of the movement pledged to carry on with their campaign backed by opposition parties and a growing number of Armenian celebrities that have not been involved in civic activism until now.
Many of the celebrities have taken to the streets offering ordinary Armenians rides in their cars. The tactic, billed Free Car, is meant to dissuade people from using public transportation and keep the pressure up on the authorities.