Since Mayor Sebastião Melo (MDB) made public his intention to privatize Carris, the only public transport company present in a Brazilian capital, the company’s workers have been mobilized. This Monday morning (6), they took a walk through the center of Porto Alegre, culminating in a concentration in front of the city hall, where they stayed during the afternoon. The purpose of the demonstrations is to alert the population about the impact of the privatization of the company.
Also during the demonstration, workers recalled the end of the bill collector’s role. Authored by the municipal Executive, the project was approved last week by the City Council.
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“Only those who ride the bus know the importance of the collector. We are not there to collect the fare, help the driver, on the contrary. He has a fundamental role on the bus, social. We are often there guarding the children of other people who send them to school, elderly people who walk alone, in wheelchairs”, points out collector Catiucia Souza dos Santos, who has worked at Carris for almost 22 years.
To exemplify the importance of the collector, Catiucia cites an episode in which a collector, years ago, saved the lives of passengers. “The conductor realized that the driver was sick, he was able to skip the roulette wheel and lock the bus to avoid a greater tragedy that could have happened”, she explains, noting that Porto Alegre, at the moment, is not prepared to run out of conductors.
:: Collector defends public Carris and demands serious audit to open the transport’s black box ::
Regarding the attempt to privatize Carris, the collector emphasizes that Carris is not just a public transport company. “She already had a social importance, of charity, helping villages, schools. For example, we had a while ago the Afro bus that helped the black culture in the city. The friendly animal bus. Collection of warm clothes, food. It has an important social role for this city”, he highlights. “I am very proud to be here representing the company, and not let this happen. This nefarious government that simply wants to privatize everything, out of wounded pride”, he concludes.
According to data from the Public Transport and Circulation Company (EPTC), Carris operates 22 of the 224 lines in circulation in the capital. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the company has been running the lines left behind by other concessionaires in the city, as in the case of lines M10 (Restinga Nova Via Velha Noturna), M68 (Noturna Belém Novo) and M70, which pass through Vila Cruzeiro, by the Hospital Divina Providência and by Lami.
Workers submit proposal to mayor
During the afternoon, the employees delivered to the Secretary of Urban Mobility, Luiz Fernando Záchia, a document containing a proposal by the Broad Front in Defense of Carris and Quality Transport. The content brings strategies for Public Transport in Porto Alegre for the period between 2022 and 2030.
Among the proposals is that the Public Transport and Circulation Company (EPTC) undertake the restructuring of the lines, itineraries, timetables and fleet of each consortium and Cia. Carris in order to optimize costs and offer a reliable service, in dialogue with the regions of the Participatory Budget. Also the maintenance of exemptions for the elderly, students and PCDs with extra-tariff sources of income, especially with resources from the Municipal Transport Fund.
Public Letter to Mayor Sebastião Melo
Opposition councilors released a public letter this Monday to the mayor of the capital on the importance of the city maintaining a public transport company. In it, the parliamentarians emphasize its importance not only for their employees, but also for the entire population.
“The city of Porto Alegre needs a well-functioning public transport system with cheap tickets. Not only for those who depend on buses to move around the city, but for the entire city that needs those who use buses. They are workers who make the city’s economy work, in commerce, services, self-employed people, students, the elderly, residents far from the center and places of work, housing and study, 600 thousand users per day. Big cities like ours need public transport for economic, social and environmental reasons”, he says.
Below the full letter
PUBLIC LETTER TO MAYOR SEBASTIÃO MELO
“Porto Alegre needs buses that work well and with cheap tickets”
The city of Porto Alegre needs a public transport system that works
well and with cheap tickets. Not only for those who depend on buses to move around the city, but for the entire city that needs those who use buses. They are workers who make the city’s economy work, in commerce, services, self-employed people, students, the elderly, residents far from the center and places of work, housing and study, 600 thousand users per day. Big cities like ours need public transport for economic, social and environmental reasons.
If the debate on urban mobility is increasingly current and necessary, in Porto
It is also important to discuss some of the structural factors that explain the current situation:
1- The lack of control of the system by the City Hall. For a decade now, it has been the ATP, the association of private companies that controls the system’s cash, the electronic ticketing and the Tariff Compensation Chamber (CCT), which are responsible for distributing the funds collected to the companies. This led to a lack of transparency about the flow of payments and the distribution of system resources, due to the lack of public control.
2- The rise in the cost of diesel and other fuels, above inflation, resulting from a disastrous pricing policy implemented by the federal government, especially from 2019, favoring the interests of international private funds that currently control Petrobras. It is necessary to develop national efforts to change this policy and recover Petrobras for the Brazilian people.
3- The impoverishment of the population of Porto Alegre and the brutal increase in informal work, without a formal contract and without transportation vouchers.
4- The entry into the market of applications, which, to a large extent, took over short-distance travel, a situation that was aggravated during the pandemic.
5- In Porto Alegre, approximately 80% of the bus transport system is private. Given this situation, the proposal for the liquidation or sale of Carris makes no sense. The city does not gain anything, it only loses the best bus service in Porto Alegre.
Given this situation and the need to enable a bus system that meets the real interests of the city, we propose:
1- Immediate resumption of control by the city hall/EPTC of the Electronic Ticketing and the Tariff Clearing Chamber (CCT), including to comply with decisions issued by the Court of Accounts of RS and the Public Prosecutor’s Office that, on several occasions, have already decided that the city hall comply what the law determines. This non-compliance is inadmissible and unacceptable, it is a clear case of malfeasance and administrative improbity.
2- Rigorous external audit of the last 5 years of the management of the Ticketing system and the Clearing House, to verify the correct application of the inflow and outflow of revenue from the system here in Porto Alegre.
3- Creation of the Municipal Transport Fund to subsidize the ticket. It is impossible for the entire cost of the bus system available to the city to be paid for just the fare, the ticket. The Fund would be composed of resources such as the balance of the Tariff Clearing House, blue area, IPVA portion, and transportation fee.
4- Implementation of an urban mobility fee capable of financing transport and guaranteeing a sharp reduction in the price of the ticket. It is understood that public transport is a compulsory service and of primary public interest, its provision is absolutely essential for the good of the entire community. As a compulsory service, it must be paid through a fee that is charged from companies according to the number of registered employees, according to official data, thus ensuring a free pass for these workers and a ticket with a much more affordable price.
5- As in other cities, definition in the budget of extraordinary resources for financing the system, still in 2021.
6- Creation of a Municipal Commission to update Porto Alegre’s bus system strategies for the year 2022 in four months.
Carris is a heritage of the city, awarded as the best public transport company in Brazil for several years. It was the first to install air conditioning in its fleet and wheelchair access. An innovative company concerned with quality for passengers, with highly qualified professionals. Carris must remain public, providing good services to the population. Carris is not a problem, it is a solution.
What must change is the way in which CARRIS has been managed, in the last
time course. Always with a surplus, CARRIS started to accumulate growing deficits as of 2011. The problem is not the Company, but those who managed it, for most of the period. This should be changed, therefore, we propose:
1. Qualified, dedicated and transparent management for Carris, with a new Board of Directors and a management contract with clear targets for operational quality and financial performance.
2. That Carris is not disadvantaged in relation to private companies in terms of financial and subsidies (direct and indirect), and that it is remunerated fairly and appropriately, whenever it is called upon to operate lines not assisted by private companies, as has recently been the case , for more than once.
3. As for the possibility of extinguishing the function of “Cobrador”, recently approved, that the government’s position be reviewed and that any action to withdraw the memos be suspended, until the other actions proposed here are evaluated and implemented.
We believe that with these measures we will be able to reorganize the city’s public transport system, ensuring its regular and qualified operation, responding to the population’s wishes and demands for its constitutional right. We are sure that this way we will create the conditions to offer quality and cheap tickets.
To this end, we defend the removal of Urgent Requests in the processing of the Projects, in particular the project that affects CARRIS and the tariff exemptions, so that
we can build a collective solution.
The letter is signed by:
Pedro Ruas (opposition leader)
Aldacir Oliboni (PT leader)
Bruna Rodrigues (PCdoB leader)
Roberto Robaina (PSOL leader)
Daiana Santos (PCdoB)
Jonas Reis (PT)
Karen Santos (PSOL)
Laura Sito (PT)
Leonel Radde (PT)
Matheus Gomes (PSOL)
Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul
Edition: Marcelo Ferreira