Penza Communists held protest rally against transportation fare increase
Penza, 1 June 2015. PenzaNews. Over 100 people took part in the protest rally against the increased fare of Penza public transport. The event organized by the city committee of the Communist Party took place at the Dzerzhinsky public rally in the evening of Monday, June 1.
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Even the heavy rains in Penza shortly before the event did not stop the people, though most of them had to bring umbrellas, hide under the trees, or endure the downpour.
The protesters were holding the red flags and banners reading: “Deputies, solve people’s problems, not yours!”, “Again the last city train escaped me,” “Bring back the city trains!”, “Preserve all the dacha buses!”, and “Enough with robbing us, we’re not cows for milking!”
Some banners held by the protesters were re-used from their previous campaigns, such as a photo of the former Penza region governor Vasily Bochkarev with a writing “Governor talks potatoes, gives no transport.”
Opening the public rally, Dmitry Filyaev, first secretary of the CPRF Penza city committee, pointed out that the main issue of the citizens is the increase of public fares on June 1 and the overall future of city transportation.
“We all have already encountered the 25% fare increase today. The dacha owners encountered a similar issue just a month ago, when they not only increased the fares, but greatly brought down the quality of dacha commute as well,” he said.
Dmitry Filyaev stressed that the Communists thanks to active protests managed to achieve several changes over a month, such as the return of Friday dacha buses and the cancelation of “barbaric” dacha transportation payment system distribution via “Garden Association Member’s Transportation Cards.”
“The most cynical thing is that today, on Children’s Day, the city authorities conducted the increase not only for adults, but also for the school students who have no income of their own,” he added.
Sergei Padalkin, head of the press office for the CPRF regional committee, also criticized the authorities in his speech.
“Look at what the city administration does. Even for the municipal trolley buses, that drive ‘on a wing and a prayer,’ they raise the costs up to 20 rubles. What do they strive for? To bankrupt what remains? Why couldn’t they leave the prices at the same level? Or at least increased only by one ruble, and people would choose trolley buses because the difference would be noticeable,” he said.
In his turn, Vladimir Simagin, State Duma deputy for the Penza region in the CPRF faction, suggested that the current city authorities do not act for the sake of the people, and offered the rally participants to take newspapers with tariffs in the neighboring cities from one of the activists.
“12 in Saransk, 13, 14, 15 rubles in Ulyanovsk, the maximum in Samara is 20, but students, veterans and school pupils enjoy discounts. We [had] 16 rubles, but it wasn’t enough for them, they brought it up to 22. No money, they say. No money? Search in your own pockets, friends. […] Thank you for coming here even with this weather. We will be heard, and maybe even make some conclusions,” Vladimir Simagin added.
At the end of the protest rally, the protesters composed a resolution to the federal authorities, the acting governor of the Penza region Ivan Belozertsev and the city administration head Yuri Krivov, with its main demand dedicated to the transportation issue.
As the document states, the city transportation system currently has only two large companies, “Dilizhans” and “Merkuriy,” as “the Penza municipal transport was practically annihilated due to the thoughtless actions of city and regional authorities.”
The rally participants demanded to make the city transportation fully municipal, reduce the fares for buses and trolley buses down to 12-14 rubles, review the discounts for the elderly and school and university students, and bring back the popular routes.
Moreover, the citizens who undersigned the resolution demanded to bring back the cancelled city train routes, such as Penza–Pachelma and Penza–Kuznetsk, and increase the train size up to five passenger carriages.
If these demands would not be followed, the rally participants expressed their intention to go on indefinite strike.
After the rally mostly dissipate, a group of Communists, including Oleg Shalyapin and Dmitry Felyaev, laid flowers to the Felix Dzerzhinsky monument.
According to the police officers who watched over the rally, the event was held without any violations.