Brazilian Senate passes aid package for public transit

Brasilia,  Brazil’s Senate has approved a bill to provide 4 billion reals ($755 million) to aid the country’s struggling public transportation sector hit by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Senate on Wednesday said that money will go to cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants to prevent hikes in fares and modernize transit systems with electronic tickets and new technologies, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to the National Association of Transportation Companies, there was an 80 per cent decline in the number of commuters in the country due to the pandemic.

More than 32 million people are estimated to have stopped using public transportation, either due to becoming unemployed or staying at home to avoid catching the virus.

“There is no doubt that public transportation in large cities suffered strong economic impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic,” Senator Eduardo Gomes, the bill’s rapporteur said.

The resources may go to private, public or mixed companies that provide transportation services, such as bus or subway operators.

States that receive resources from the initiative will not be able to raise fares.