Vitalie Mihalache: Price of 6 lei per trip does not fully cover costs and is a social fare

The revision of the public transport fares in the municipality of Chisinau is unavoidable and the common fare of 6 lei for all the units of transport will be reasonable from economic viewpoint and equitable from social viewpoint, Vitalie Mihalache, the head of the General Public Transport and Communications Division, stated in IPN’s public debate “Public transport fares in the capital city: between necessity, equity and interests, including political ones”.

“The 732 million lei planned at the start of this year can be insufficient until the end of this year. Therefore, additional effort will be made to optimize processes and to find the financial resources needed to enable the given companies to provide an efficient, equitable and comfortable service for passengers in the municipality of Chisinau. In summer, the maintenance costs are smaller, but the situation will be different in the cold period of the year, when the maintenance costs of the vehicles and of these companies will rise,” stated Vitalie Mihalache.

He noted that in accordance with the methodology for calculating the public transport fares approved by the Chisinau Municipal Council last week, the reference value based on which the cost of a trip by public transport is determined was set at 0.06% of the average salary in the economy. “The Government set the average official salary at 9,900 lei. At the moment, given the indexation elements, the inflation rate and other elements, the cost is higher than 6 lei. However, as this coefficient should be social and the commuters in the municipality of Chisinau should be able to pay it, the fare was set at 6 lei. Currently, the draft decision that is to be signed by mayor general Ion Ceban is being endorsed and coordinated for being signed and published,” stated Vitalie Mihalache.

He noted that the Chisinau City Hall achieves the set objectives, including those regarding the requirements concerning the quality of public transport, which were unanimously approved by all the municipal councilors. “There were presented the calculations done according to a methodology proposed for examination in the Chisinau Municipal Council in the framework of a project financed by the EBRD. A study to determine the possibility of reorganizing the Urban Bus Company and the Electric Transport Company is now conducted with the involvement of foreign experts, including from Romania. These have experience in the field,” said Vitalie Mihalache, noting changes will also be made as regards improvement of monitoring by implementing electronic ticketing.

He also said that there are bodies that determine how the public funds are used so as to prevent their misuse. The municipal companies are also subject to annual audit and to inspections from the Financial Inspectorate. There are relevant instruments, but the prices grow unpredictably and the costs cannot be determined effectively and there was no predictability for a month or two months when the request to raise the fares was made. “We incur higher costs related to remuneration, transportation and spare parts. We incur multiple costs that unbalance us and do not enable us to ensure clarity as regards the further developments,” noted Vitalie Mihalache.

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