City accepts kisses instead of bus fare on Valentine’s Day – but not for gay couples
The capital city of Latvia has introduced a sweet way for couples to pay for their bus fare on Valentine’s Day.
Couples can pay with a kiss to board busses run by the city’s transport company Rigas Mikroautobusu Satiksme (RMS).
Except it’s not so sweet for same-sex couples, who are excluded from the offer.
LSM.LV reported that Maija Lazdiņa, the spokeswoman for RMS said: “The initiative is only meant to support relationships established as traditional.”
“This campaign is our gift to Rigans on the most romantic of festivals – Valentine’s Day,” said Vitalijs Komars, Commercial Director of RMS.
The most romantic! UNLESS you are in a same-sex couple, apparently.
“Last year our campaign turned out to be very popular among passengers, and nearly 800 couples seized the opportunity,” Komars went on.
“I hope that this year couples will be using our gift just as actively as last year.”
The move has struck a chord with LGBT rights groups, who have complained to the ombudsman over the exclusion of same-sex couples.
LGBT rights group Mozaika said the free rides are in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, and that they are illegal.
Turning to Latvia’s consumer protection laws, the group also insisted that women are put at a disadvantage as there are more men than women in the city.
“Examples like this, when discrimination can be seen with the naked eye in the society are no longer to be ignored,” the head of Mozaīka, Kristīne Garina said.
RMS has run the minibus routes in Riga since 2013, and is the sub-contractor of the Rīgas Satiksme municipal public transportation company.