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Brazil protests: Sao Paulo and Rio lower public transit fare

The governments of both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro announced Wednesday night that they would be lowering their public transit fares back to their previous rates after two weeks of protests across Brazil.

Sao Paulo protestEnlarge
Thousands of people take part in a protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 17, 2013, against a recent rise in public bus and subway fare from 3 to 3.20 reais (1.50 USD) and the use of public funds for international football tournaments. (Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)

SAO PAULO, Brazil — The governments of both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro announced Wednesday night that they would be lowering their public transit fares back to their previous rates after two weeks of protests across Brazil.

Sao Paulo's Governor Geraldo Alckmin and Mayor Fernando Haddad said that the city's bus, metro and train fare would lose its extra 20 cents and return to the previous rate of 3 reais ($1.50) as of Monday.

"I would like to say that in the case of the metro and train, we will revoke the given adjustment and the fare will return to its original 3 reais," Alckmin told reporters. "It's a huge sacrifice. We will have to cut investments because the companies don't have the ability to shoulder these costs."

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In Rio, Mayor Eduardo Paes said the public transit fare would also be suspended. He noted that the decision was made together with the leaders of the neighboring state.

The government of Sao Paulo has yet to say which investments will be affected by the reduction in investments, but Secretary of Planning Julio Semeghini said he was looking at possible alternatives.

Members of the Free Pass Movement (MPL), who started the protests that brought out over 240,000 people across Brazil on Tuesday, took to the streets again, along with others who have joined their cause, to scream with joy. They've said that the protest planned for Thursday evening in Sao Paulo will now be a celebration.

"Let's keep our gathering going to celebrate and also to stand in solidarity with other cities who still want their fare readjustments revoked," said Caio Martins, 19, a member of the MPL.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/brazil/130619/brazil-protests-sao-paulo-and-rio-lower-public-transit-fare