Once the municipal and regional elections have concluded, it appears that the President of the Community of Madrid (CAM), Isabel Díaz Ayuso, does not consider the continued financing of discounts on the Metro and bus Transport Pass, which she implemented on February 1st, to be among her priorities. However, the stream of public aid for the affluent in the CAM seems to be endless.

First, we witnessed scholarships for the wealthy, funding studies at private institutions while leaving thousands of students without access to public vocational training or kindergarten. Next came mortgages for the affluent, offering guarantees of up to 95% for homes valued at up to 390,000 euros, with considerably less stringent requirements than those for accessing social housing. And as the grand finale, in celebration of Ayuso’s reelection and the absolute majority she obtained, checks were issued to hire domestic employees.

Although this last measure was approved during the election campaign, its announcement was delayed until after the elections. It entails an incentive program for employing domestic workers to care for children under 12 years of age (or under 18 if they have a disability) or other family members who have disabilities or are dependents. The program includes direct payments of 4,000 euros to cover the costs of hiring such individuals.

The onerous prerequisites for obtaining these ‘kangaroo checks’ are noteworthy

Upon delving into the requirements for accessing this aid, we discover that the maximum income threshold per capita is set at 30,000 euros. It is the ‘per capita’ condition that makes all the difference. For instance, in a household comprising a couple and their child, the threshold rises to 90,000 euros (30,000 euros per person).

The progression becomes even more alarming when considering that a family consisting of two adults and three minors could be eligible for this aid, as long as their annual income does not exceed 150,000 euros. Ayuso justifies the decision to grant these checks to affluent families as a gesture towards “those who always pay and never receive anything.”

The aid will be granted “in order of application submission through the electronic registry of the Community of Madrid,” according to the award’s documentation. Therefore, a single-parent family with a dependent minor, having an annual income of 15,120 euros, could miss out on the check if they delay their application longer than a family of two adults and two minors, earning an annual income of 110,000 euros. Ayuso applies the “last one is the fool – or poor” philosophy even in the distribution of social benefits.

The expiration of season ticket discounts and the imminent price hike

Furthermore, the President of the Community of Madrid has no intention of assuming responsibility for the discounts on the Transport Season Ticket, which will expire on June 30th. These price reductions were based on the Royal Decree-Law 11/2022 of June 25th, which established exceptional measures to mitigate the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine.

Consequently, if this measure is not extended by the central government or if the Executive of the Community of Madrid decides not to maintain the discount or propose an alternative, the prices will revert to their original rates.

As stated on the website of the Madrid Transport Consortium, the discounts of 60% on Abonos Transporte and 50% on 10-trip tickets will come to an end on Friday, June 30th, 2023, leaving less than a month before prices nearly triple.

This will predominantly impact the residents of Madrid who live on the outskirts of the metropolis, a group that is habitually overlooked by the regional government.

Original prices beyond the means of the average Madrileño

The original prices established years ago by the Consorcio de Transportes de Madrid and the popular Executive are entirely unaffordable for the average Madrileño, whose financial circumstances are increasingly precarious.

Currently, the A zone pass costs 21.80 euros, but as of June 30th, it will surge to 54.60 euros. The B1 zone, presently priced at 25.40 euros, will reach 63.70 euros, while the B2 zone, which has remained at 28.80 euros since last February, will return to its original price of 72 euros.

Venturing further into the periphery of the community, we encounter the B3, C1, and C2 zone passes, which will skyrocket from 32.80 euros to 82 euros in a mere twenty days. As for the E1 zone, currently priced at 44.20 euros, it will once again climb to a staggering 110.60 euros. Finally, the E2 zone, the most expensive of them all at the moment with a cost of 52.70 euros, will reach a staggering 131.80 euros in July.

A less overt escalation pertains to the youth pass, currently priced at 8 euros, which will see an increase to 20 euros by month’s end. This transport card has faced significant criticism, given the irony of considering a 26-year-old individual as no longer youthful in a society where higher education is typically completed by that age. Moreover, the available job opportunities often come with deplorable working conditions and inadequate salaries.

In a positive light, the travel card for senior citizens will be provided free of charge across all zones within the Community of Madrid. Similarly, the children’s card will continue to be exempt from any fees.

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