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Public transport charges increase by 15%

The cost of Metro and CP train passes and tickets shot up by an average of 15% on Monday, particularly affecting Lisbon commuters.

The price hikes, which in some cases have skyrocketed by 25%, were met with a chorus of complaints from passenger watchdog groups.

Tolls on the April 25 Bridge between Lisbon and Almada were also introduced for August.

The increases are an attempt by the government to fill the financial deficits in an array of public-run transport companies which owe tens of millions of euros.

Vítor Pereira, who heads the Federation of Transport and Communications Unions (Federação dos Sindicatos dos Transportes e Comunicações – Fectrans), said over the weekend that the increases would lead to more fare-dodging and fraud. “There will be a lot more people who will try and use public transport for free since many people will have a choice between paying for medicines and food or using public transport,” he warned.

And according to CP’s report for 2010, that company’s debts from clients have reached €36.7 million.

Among these losses is a debt from the Ministry of Defence for military transport worth €33.7 million.

Soflusa and Transtejo have debts of €183,000 for 2010 while Lisbon Metro fraud and free riding cost that company €11.5 million in 2009 to add to a further €4.5 million debt from other bad client debts.

Bus company Carris has a total of €132,000 of debts from bad clients.