ARGENTINA: Minister of the Interior & Transport Florencio Randazzo announced on February 12 that he had approved new operating agreements for the Mitre, San Martín, Belgrano Sur and Roca commuter routes in Buenos Aires.

The emergency operating consortia UGOFE and UGOMS have been dissolved, with the Roggio group now responsible for the Mitre and San Martín networks and Emepa operating the Belgrano Sur and Roca routes.

Randazzo said that the private operators would henceforth be required to meet annual targets for criteria including service frequency, rolling stock maintenance, station cleaning and service quality, set by federal operating company SOFSE.

'A strict penalty regime' would apply if these targets were not met, with sanctions culminating in the cancellation of the operating agreement should failings in operations or rolling stock maintenance result in the lives of passengers or staff being placed at risk.

'We have been clear since day one', said Randazzo. 'Our only commitment is to the passengers, and we have put in place these new agreements which increase the presence and control of the state in order that a quality service may be provided'.