In Izmir, the Transportation Coordination Center (UKOME), which consists of the representatives of the relevant departments of the Metropolitan Municipality, public transportation organizations, public institutions in the city and individual public transportation organizations, rejected the update to be made in the public transportation schedule at its last meeting with a majority of votes. Noting that the cost of fuel has increased three times and the cost of electricity has increased five times in the last three years, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality announced that it will take the UKOME decision to the court.
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Transportation Coordination Center (UKOME) convened with a three-item agenda. The student transportation price tariff proposed to be implemented in the 2022-2023 Academic Year is determined by a majority of votes; The request of the transporters who are members of the Izmir Minibus Chamber of Craftsmen to update their price tariffs was unanimously accepted. The Izmir Metropolitan Municipality's request to update the public transportation tariffs was again rejected by the majority of votes, as in the last month's meeting.
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor chaired the meeting. Tunç Soyerannounced that the Metropolitan Municipality will file a “detection case of the abuse of right” against UKOME. Despite the increasing fuel and energy costs, İzmir Metro AŞ, İZDENİZ and İZULAŞ managements, which have suffered a great deal of public loss due to the lack of tariff increase for months, will also file a lawsuit for the annulment of the UKOME decision. The General Directorate of ESHOT, where the public damage is the greatest, will also be involved in this case.
President Soyer pointed out that public damage was blatantly created, and said, "We will not be a spectator to this any longer." Stating that the claim that "the highest wage among 30 metropolitan cities is in Izmir", voiced by the representatives of the institutions that voted against, is unrealistic, Mayor Soyer emphasized that the comparison should be made between the three big cities. President Soyer said that the costs in the cities with a total line length of 5-6 km and in the three big cities where transportation is carried out over very long distances cannot be compared.
President Tunç Soyer continued as follows:
The subsidy will reach 4 billion TL
“Izmir Metropolitan Municipality is responsible for protecting the interests of the people. This is exactly how we do it. If there is a 266 percent hike in fuel in Turkey and if the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality cannot determine a fee by fulfilling the requirements of this increase in public transportation, then the damage will be the loss of the people of Izmir. The public transport service is not for profit, as the name suggests. It constantly hurts. The difference is subsidized by the Metropolitan Municipality. However, at the point reached, the money that the Metropolitan will spend for the continuity of the public transportation service this year has been based on 4 billion TL. This means almost half of the Metropolitan budget. What will be the other services that we need to do, that the public expects? From what source will they be made?”
The remarkable contradiction of TCDD
Stating that the economic picture is in the middle and the tariff increase has become a vital necessity, Mayor Soyer said, “The more the official institutions of the state are, the more the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality is the state. We are the public sector, and we are obliged to use public resources in the most efficient way. Today, we see that TCDD, which provides public transportation services, has increased ticket prices by 155-156% since the beginning of the year. The same TCDD's representative in UKOME votes against the increase in the urban public transportation tariff, saying 'It is not for the benefit of the public'. Then why is the public interest not considered in TCDD services? TCDD trains have just been hiked. The ticket price on the 110-kilometer Ödemiş-Basmane line was 35 TL. The ticket fee in İZBAN with the same length is 21 TL. Let the people of Izmir evaluate these contradictions," he said.
“Political differences should not turn into hostility”
The President, who especially emphasized that he could not be a reproach to the representatives of the institutions in UKOME Tunç Soyer“They have commanders, heads of departments, general managers they represent. In fact, they represent a political will. But I'm asking them. Please convey this to their superiors: We may have different political views, it is very normal. I respect that. But it is very sad that these political differences of opinion are turning into hostility. The inability of the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality to come to the point where it cannot provide public transportation means a great weakness for all institutions living in this city. This should not be allowed. The Metropolitan Municipality is not exempt from the price hikes, economic data, cost of living and inflation in this country! How long do you expect the municipality to last? I request you to convey to your superiors and superiors that the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality is not an enemy organization, that this country is a part of the state and that it is a must to ensure the sustainability of the service.”
Last words to the people of Izmir
Making an assessment at the exit of the meeting, President Soyer emphasized that the people of Izmir should now be informed about the current situation and concluded his words as follows:
“Nobody wants a raise. Neither do we. Why should my citizen live in an inflationary environment? Why should I moan under the rain of raises? Who wants these? But unfortunately, we face the painful consequences of a poorly managed economy. Let my dear compatriots know this. Tomorrow, the representatives of the government in the city will come out and make politics on this issue. 'We think of the people; That's why we don't give a raise to public transportation. They will say that Soyer wants to make a raise. If they were sincere in their thoughts, would this country have been under the rain of raises for months? This is not a matter of politics. In the light of the current economic conditions, due to the increasing costs, we have to increase the sustainability of the public transportation service and all other services of the Metropolitan. The increase we are talking about is not more than 100 percent in fuel and energy since the beginning of the year. We have been unable to increase the public transportation tariff by 30-40 percent for months. We are locked in for political reasons. We will seek our rights, the rights of the people of Izmir, in court. I leave the appreciation to my fellow countrymen.”
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality also presented a note summarizing the situation in public transportation to the public.
Subsidy per passenger is 508 TL per month
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, President Tunç SoyerSince March 2019, when he started his duty, he has continued his investments for economical and comfortable public transportation without slowing down.
With the "Public Vehicles" application, which was implemented by the order of President Soyer, 50% discounted public transportation was provided in certain time zones in the morning and evening. Transfer time increased from 90 minutes to 120 minutes.
In this process; All new public transportation tariffs made were determined with increase rates below the basic indicators announced by the government. The full boarding fee, which was 2019 TL in April 3, is 6,5 TL as of today.
Incoming rates are too high
Since April 2019; There was an increase of 266% in fuel oil, 531% in electricity, 152% in CPI, 312% in PPI, 228% in Dollar exchange rate and 185% in Euro exchange rate.
In this process, that is, in the last 3,5 years, the total increase rate in the public transportation tariff is 117%.
While the student boarding fee was 2019 TL in April 1,80, it is applied as 22 TL with an increase of only 2,20% today.
Turnover could not even cover the cost of fuel
To give an example from the General Directorate of ESHOT; In the January-August period of 2022, the revenue obtained from all ticket revenues does not even cover the cost of fuel. Today, ESHOT's monthly turnover corresponds to only 57 percent of the fuel cost. All of the boarding income from the metro and tram can only cover the electricity costs.
11,52 TL support for each ride from the Metropolitan
Public transportation organizations affiliated to Izmir Metropolitan Municipality carry 'free' people, certain professions and age groups, as well as passengers who make paid and discounted boarding.
In 2019, the cost of a toll ride was 5 TL. The revenue from one toll boarding was 1,82 TL. Izmir Metropolitan Municipality was subsidizing the 3,18 TL in between. As of today, the cost of a toll ride is 14,64 TL. The revenue from a paid boarding pass is 3,13 TL. Therefore, the support of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality per passenger increased by 262% to 11,52 TL.
Considering that a passenger makes at least two boardings a day and uses public transportation for an average of 22 working days per month; As of today, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality provides a monthly subsidy of 506.88 TL for each passenger.