Photo via Radio Mitre

In an interview with Radio Mitre this morning, Transportation Minister Guillermo Dietrich stated that the new increases in public transport fares “weren’t that much in terms of money.” Dietrich announced yesterday that there would be increases of between 50 and 100 percent in the capital and Greater Buenos Aires Area.

This has obviously caused heavy backlash on social media, with the hashtag #Aumentos (“#Increases”) becoming a Trending Topic on Twitter this morning and plenty of comments regarding Dietrich’s statements making the rounds.

“‘In terms of money it’s not that much’ speaks to government’s profound ignorance of the people’s plight.”

In the same way that the increases in electricity bills led to a debate on the inequality between what people in the City of Buenos Aires pay compared to what residents in other provinces pay (spoiler: Porteños pay way less), Dietrich also mentioned that there was “a great inequality within the country.”

“[…] Here in San Luis we were paying for everything… welcome to reality, Porteños and people of Buenos Aires Province.”

Table via La Voz del Interior
A comparison of prices by La Voz del Interior

Yesterday, the government announced that minimum colectivo fares would hike up from AR $3 to AR $6; Subte fares would hike up from AR $4.50 to AR $7.50; and minimum train fares would jump to AR $2 or AR $4, depending on the train line. These represent between 50 and 100 percent increases.

While it’s certainly true that compared to the rest of the country, commuters in the capital and the Greater Buenos Aires Area have paid quite little for public transportation these last few years, Dietrich’s phrase could be interpreted as another faux pas on the government’s part signalling a certain lack of empathy, much like Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay comparing the electricity bill hikes to the price of “[just] two pizzas.”