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Tuesday 22.08.2017 | Name days: Rudīte, Everts

Protest act to support regional passenger carriers

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There is a protest act planned to take place near the Cabinet of Ministers building on March 19 by the Latvian Social Services and Transport workers association and Latvian Bus and Regional Carriers association in support of regional passenger carriers.

The goal of the protest act – to achieve the compensation of last year’s losses for domestic passenger carriers. If this is not achieved, local passenger transport routes could become at risk this April. Small carriers are in the most dangerous situation. One of them is Aluksne region’s Vidlataute, LTV and Latvian Radio news portal reports.

Chairman of Vidlatauto Edvins Strickis says the picture is far from positive: “We have no money to purchase fuel, we can hardly pay salaries, taxes need to be paid. If we do not receive a statement from the State Revenue Service (SRS), we are unable to participate in any events, not even the smallest contest for some school to carry students. We owe 95 thousand LVL for last year. Every next month adds 10-12 thousand LVL…”

There are two large carriers in Vidzeme – Cesis’ CATA and Valmiera’s transport company. There are also small ones in Gulbene, Madona and Aluksne. The manager of state allotted finances is Vidzeme’s Planning region. Its Council Chairman Nikolai Stepanov admits – there is an ideal amount of funding: “Small carriers work on routes that are located in suburbs, on poor roads, with low transport density. This makes their income lower than that of carriers working on city connecting routes. For small ones that have no money, waiting for November-December like last year is the same as suicide.”

Aluksne’s carriers are asked to be more economic. Passenger carriers, on the other hand, say that they have already started using smaller buses. There is nothing else to save money on. Strickis says: “Distances have been reducing kilometre by kilometre – there is nothing else. Most of our activity (around 40%) is student carrying, in order to reduce something there, some schools need to be terminated.”

Another factor is the reducing number of people to carry in the farthest regions. Vidlatauto is a private company, and its manager does not rule out the possibility of a worst case scenario – bankruptcy.

The debt of Vidzeme’s carriers is 490 thousand LVL. This amount could grow even more this year.

On Tuesday, March 19, Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss sent a letter to Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Edmunds Sprudzs and Finance Minister Andris Vilks with a proposal on how to organize and finance regional passenger transportation.

Matiss offers a solution to the problem of organizing public transport. The ministry’s proposal is as follows: the Road Directorate is the client and contractor of regional passenger carriers, while the planning regions satisfy municipal and residents’ needs in regard to transportation within regions.

This solution would be appropriate for the planning regions – providing planning for regional development, coordination, municipal and other state management institutions’ cooperation. Function division would allow to plan inter-city and domestic routes, allow the optimization of routes, prevent the currently formed regional differences without reducing the general availability of services. It would also be possible to realize a single tariff policy across the country. This option would also allow carriers to reduce the amount of uncompensated losses, Transport Ministry reports.

The current uncompensated losses of passenger carriers for the services they provided in 2012 reach 0.82 million LVL. This amount is expected to reach 1.32 million LVL in 2013.

Matiss also said that he is prepared to forward the issue of compensating carriers’ losses for 2012. He says this is possible if carriers reach a united position on this issue.


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