Brazil’s chief electoral justice Alexandre de Moraes on Sunday ordered the state-owned company in charge of the metro system in the city of Belo Horizonte to offer free transportation on Election Day, after it refused to comply with a court order to do so.
Belo Horizonte is Brazil’s sixth-biggest city in population, with over 2.5 million people. State-owned company CBTU is in charge of a 28-kilometer-long rapid transit line used by about 2 million passengers monthly.
On a Friday, a court decision ordered CBTU to offer free rides on Election Day. However, the company refused to do so earlier today, claiming it had not been officially informed of the court decision.
Free public transportation on Election Day has become a major topic of national debate, with left-wing parties requesting that city governments and federal courts consider making transportation more accessible to voters.
Lower-income voters, who polls show lean more to the left, are assumed to be more dependent on public transportation to reach their polling stations.
A spokesperson for CBTU told newspaper Folha de S.Paulo that the free rides will be offered today, after the company was officially notified of the court decision.
In his ruling, Justice Moraes determined CBTU would be fined BRL 150,000 (USD 28,000) for each hour during which it fails to comply with the ruling. He also gave four hours for the company to explain why it was not following the previous court decision to offer free transportation