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Argentina Hikes Bus, Train Ticket Prices Amid Job Cut Protests

People line up to get on the bus at 'Constitucion' station in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 31, 2016.

Commuters in Argentina's capital will see a 100 percent increase for train and bus tickets starting next month under a plan announced on Thursday as part of the new president's fiscal austerity push.

Bus tickets will go to 6 pesos ($0.41) from 3 pesos currently paid by average riders. A 2-peso basic train ticket will jump to 4 pesos ($0.27) under the plan that Transportation Minister Guillermo Dietrich said will go into effect April 8.

"It's our responsibility to run a sustainable transportation system," Dietrich said at a news conference. He said government transportation subsidies will be reduced but not eliminated, according to the new plan.

The announcement originally was scheduled to be held in the Finance Ministry building but access was cut by a protest against public sector job cuts. Dietrich move the conference to the nearby Casa Rosada presidential office building.

President Mauricio Macri, elected in November on a free-markets platform after eight years of free-spending populism under previous leader Cristina Fernandez, is cutting subsidies and reducing the public payroll as part of his effort to gain the confidence of international investors.

Macri inherited an economy plagued by wide fiscal deficits, precarious central bank reserves and 30 percent inflation.

"No one likes to announce price increases," Dietrich said. "But ticket prices have not gone up since 2014 and we all know what the inflation rate has been during those two years."

The increase applies to the Buenos Aires capital area, bringing it more in line with ticket prices paid in other parts of the country. Special prices for low-income riders in Buenos Aires also will rise.