Bus association criticises free trains proposal

THE PLANNED free rail transport for students and pensioners and significant fare discounts for those who commute to work by train will entice 15 million passengers a year, or 8 percent, away from buses, bringing a decline in bus receipts totalling €15.8 million, the Bus Transport Association (ZAD) said on October 27.

THE PLANNED free rail transport for students and pensioners and significant fare discounts for those who commute to work by train will entice 15 million passengers a year, or 8 percent, away from buses, bringing a decline in bus receipts totalling €15.8 million, the Bus Transport Association (ZAD) said on October 27.

As compensation for the loss, bus companies demand that the government should provide them with subsidies in order to prevent bus connections from being scrapped and fares from increasing.

“If the state has found enough money to provide for the loss of receipts in rail transport, it should also financially support regional authorities to cover the expected slump [in bus transport revenues],” said ZAD president Peter Pobeha, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Pobeha also told the press that public bus and train transport should be coordinated by self-governing regions and not a central institution which the Transport Ministry plans to establish, the SITA newswire wrote.

According to the governmental decision, children and students aged up to 26 years of age, along with pensioners and people aged 62 and over will be able to travel free of charge on selected trains as of November 17. The move is part of a so-called package of 15 measures aimed at improving the financial, economic and social situation of people in Slovakia. It was approved by the cabinet at its October 22 session.

“This measure is first and foremost aimed at taking away the financial burden associated with transport costs for families and students who study at university,” said Transport Minister Ján Počiatek, as quoted by TASR. “We also think that the measure will help pensioners.”

Source: TASR, SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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