Socialists call on government to maintain free train fare for pensioners

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The opposition Socialists have called on the government to withdraw a recent move to eliminate free travel for pensioners on express train services from May 15. Attila Mesterházy, leader of the Socialist party, told a press conference on Saturday that under new tariff regulations, new supplements will be introduced for express trains, which even passengers older than 65 — who otherwise travel free of charge — must pay. Mesterházy noted that free travel for the plus 65 age group was introduced in 1998 under a Socialist government and that Fidesz has so far denied it wants to scrap the benefit. Introducing new supplements will raise ticket prices by 5-10 percent, he said, adding that the higher price does not entail higher standards of service. The economy ministry’s press office said in a statement that only 456 fast train services will require a supplement out of nearly 3,000 regular services in the country. It added that revenues from supplements will be used to upgrade trains and services. Gabriella Selmeczi, spokesperson for Fidesz, said every ticket type which was free of charge for pensioners will continue to be free in the future. She added that Mesterhazy is warning pensioners against a danger which does not exist.

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