RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's Senate approved a bill on Wednesday to provide 4 billion reals (about 755 million U.S. dollars) to aid the struggling public transportation sector, which has seen ridership plummet in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money will go to cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants to prevent hikes in fares and modernize transit systems with electronic tickets and new technologies.
According to the National Association of Transportation Companies, there was an 80 percent decline in the number of commuters in the country due to the pandemic.
More than 32 million people are estimated to have stopped using public transportation, either due to becoming unemployed or staying at home to avoid catching the virus.
"There is no doubt that public transportation in large cities suffered strong economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic," Senator Eduardo Gomes, the bill's rapporteur said.
The resources may go to private, public or mixed companies that provide transportation services, such as bus or subway operators.
States that receive resources from the initiative will not be able to raise fares.