In a move reflecting the higher price of Russian natural gas imported to Armenia, the municipal authorities announced on Thursday a more than 50 percent surge in the cost of public transport in Yerevan.
Representatives of the Mayor’s Office said the bus fare will rise from 100 drams to 150 drams (36 U.S. cents) while the cost of travelling by less popular trolleybuses will double to 100 drams starting from July 20.
The price hikes, which will add to rising inflation, have been widely anticipated since the price of Russian gas soared by 50 percent in April. This translated into similarly sharp rises in the gas and electricity tariffs for Armenian households, effective from July 8.
The vast majority of commuter buses and minibuses in Armenia run on liquefied or pressurized natural gas. The bus fare in Yerevan has not changed for more than a decade. Transport and Communications Minister Gagik Beglarian indicated in late May that its increase is inevitable because of the more expensive gas.
However, Henrik Navasardian, the head of the public transport department at the Yerevan municipality, claimed that the gas factor was not decisive in the unpopular measure. “Over the past years vehicles, their spare parts and fuel have become more expensive,” he told a news conference. “That is why [transport companies] applied for a tariff revision.”
Navasardian said the new bus fares were set as a result of negotiations held between the municipal administration and those companies. Some of them sought an even more drastic price rise, he added.