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08KYIV2187, UKRAINE: KYIVITES BRACE FOR INCREASED PUBLIC

November 3, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV2187 2008-11-03 14:40 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO1784
RR RUEHIK RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHKV #2187 3081440
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031440Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6666
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS KYIV 002187 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
USDOC FOR 4231/ITA/OEENIS/NISD/CLUCYK 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ELTN ECON SOCI UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: KYIVITES BRACE FOR INCREASED PUBLIC 
TRANSPORTATION RATE HIKES 
 
1. (SBU) In the midst of Ukraine's heightened economic 
instability, the Kyiv City Council on November 1 approved 
steep rate hikes for public transportation (metro, busses, 
and trams).  Public transportation rates have not increased 
in Kyiv since 2000, when the cost was raised from 30 kopecks 
($0.052) to 50 kopecks ($0.087) where it has remained for 8 
years.  Beginning November 4, however, Kyivites will pay 2 
hrvynia (UAH) or ($0.35) to ride the metro, and 1.50 UAH 
($0.26) to ride busses or trams.  Transportation officials 
explained that the rate hike will provide for safety 
improvements, increased wages, and improved passenger 
services.  The announcement to raise public transportation 
costs has sparked outrage among Kyivites we spoke with, and 
have some worried about the reaction of would-be passengers 
on November 4, when many learn about the rate hike for the 
first time. 
 
2. (U) Local residents we spoke with explained that not only 
was the policy unexpected and little time was given for 
passengers to prepare for the increase, but implementing the 
rate increase seems not to have been thought-out.  Local 
press reports those wanting to ride a bus or tram can 
purchase tickets from select kiosks throughout town for 1.50 
UAH ($0.26) or alternatively on the bus or tram directly from 
he driver for 2 UAH ($0.35).  Unfortunately, due to little 
warning, enough new tickets have not been printed and will 
not be available at kiosks for an undisclosed time period, 
forcing people to buy more expensive tickets on the bus or 
tram.  Bus and tram passengers will be able to exchange their 
current tickets toward the cost of a new ticket for an 
undisclosed period. 
 
3. (U) Metro (subway) officials announced that turnstiles 
will be reconfigured on the evening of November 3, so that 
only new metro tokens will be accepted, but most doubt that 
reconfiguring archaic turnstiles can be done in a few hours 
in 47 different metro stations.  On-line publications and 
chat rooms have come to life with predictions of chaos on the 
morning of November 4, when many people will learn that their 
current metro tokens will no longer work.  According to metro 
officials, passengers will be allowed to exchange their old 
tokens toward the purchase of a new token for an undisclosed 
period of time. 
 
4. (SBU) Under the current system several categories of 
passengers either ride for free: men over 60 and women over 
55 with proof they are on a pension (even though many 
pensioners continue to work), certain groups of disabled 
people, and some federal, regional, and city employees. 
Students also ride for half the price, so the increased rates 
will not affect everyone. As a result, the steep increase 
will have the greatest affect on those with low-income jobs 
who are not in school, and not eligible to apply for pension 
or disability benefits. 
 
5. (SBU) Some Kyivites we spoke with told us that gross 
mismanagement of advertising funds in the metro had 
contributed to the rate increase.  With hundreds of thousands 
of passengers per day traveling through Kyiv's many metro 
stations, the metro is an ideal place for companies to 
advertise.  (Note: EconOff rides the metro daily and is 
bombarded with advertisements in the station and inside 
individual cars.  End note.)  Some Ukrainian press reports 
have alleged that advertising middlemen companies have been 
allowed to siphon off funds intended for metro coffers, 
resulting in an advertising profit in 2007 of only UAH 12 
million ($2.1 million) although companies reportedly paid UAH 
127 million ($22 million) to advertise in the metro's 
stations. 
 
6. (SBU) Comment.  Although moving away from subsidies to 
more realistic rates for public services is an important step 
Ukrainian officials should take, the recent public 
transportation rate hike might be too high and too fast for 
most Kyivites.  With food and fuel prices remaining 
considerably higher in Kyiv than other Ukrainian cities, 
paying more to get around Kyiv will most likely not generate 
any more smiles during a difficult economic period in 
Ukraine's capital.  End comment. 
TAYLOR

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