Nitra mayor Dvonč files libel complaint over RegioJet billboards

Nitra Mayor Jozef Dvonč has announced that he would file a criminal complaint for libel at the District Prosecutor’s Office in Nitra on January 5 over a local billboard campaign organised by private transport company RegioJet. RegioJet has placed billboards in Nitra as of New Year’s Day stating: “Welcome to a region of corruption and cronyism. Region: Nitra. Responsible: Milan Belica, governor. Town: Nitra. Responsible: Jozef Dvonč, mayor.” RegioJet has also placed similar billboards in Bratislava in response to the refusal of the regional authorities there to issue a licence for operating a Bratislava-Nitra-Banská Bystrica bus route. Dvonč described the billboard campaign as deceitful. He explained for the TASR newswire that when RegioJet was asking for the licence, the town of Nitra issued a statement that “was not supportive” of RegioJet. A construction permit for reconstructing Nitra bus station has already been issued, and the station will not be able to handle extra buses during the reconstruction work over the next two years. In addition, RegioJet buses would further jam up the main traffic corridors leading to the bus station, worsening the comfort of city inhabitants, Dvonč claimed. According to him, one of the most important factors was that RegioJet wanted to operate a line that has been offered for years by subsidised and private carriers with sufficient capacities. “I have to point out that the subsidised and private carriers also provide connections to less lucrative towns and remote villages,” Dvonč said. “It’s there where we see enough scope for other carriers to make use of their potential... Despite logical arguments, it’s possible for €100,000 to manipulate public opinion to make sure that a licence is issued.” Bratislava region governor Pavol Frešo said that the Bratislava regional authorities had to comply with the reservations of Nitra region, which is why they decided not to grant a licence to RegioJet. Licences can be issued either by the Bratislava regional authorities or Banská Bystrica regional authorities - the authorities linked to the departure or end station. Still, the agreement of all regional authorities along the route is necessary. RegioJet head Radim Jančura believes that the decision was at odds with Slovak laws, and he has announced that an appeal will be made to the Transport, Construction and Regional Development Ministry. RegioJet will also approach Banská Bystrica regional authorities with the same request, he told TASR. RegioJet’s parent company Student Agency is already running international bus lines in Slovakia, while RegioJet itself operates a regional rail link between Bratislava and Komárno and a fast-train link between Bratislava and Košice.

Nitra Mayor Jozef Dvonč has announced that he would file a criminal complaint for libel at the District Prosecutor’s Office in Nitra on January 5 over a local billboard campaign organised by private transport company RegioJet.

RegioJet has placed billboards in Nitra as of New Year’s Day stating: “Welcome to a region of corruption and cronyism. Region: Nitra. Responsible: Milan Belica, governor. Town: Nitra. Responsible: Jozef Dvonč, mayor.”

RegioJet has also placed similar billboards in Bratislava in response to the refusal of the regional authorities there to issue a licence for operating a Bratislava-Nitra-Banská Bystrica bus route.

Dvonč described the billboard campaign as deceitful. He explained for the TASR newswire that when RegioJet was asking for the licence, the town of Nitra issued a statement that “was not supportive” of RegioJet. A construction permit for reconstructing Nitra bus station has already been issued, and the station will not be able to handle extra buses during the reconstruction work over the next two years.

In addition, RegioJet buses would further jam up the main traffic corridors leading to the bus station, worsening the comfort of city inhabitants, Dvonč claimed. According to him, one of the most important factors was that RegioJet wanted to operate a line that has been offered for years by subsidised and private carriers with sufficient capacities.

“I have to point out that the subsidised and private carriers also provide connections to less lucrative towns and remote villages,” Dvonč said. “It’s there where we see enough scope for other carriers to make use of their potential... Despite logical arguments, it’s possible for €100,000 to manipulate public opinion to make sure that a licence is issued.”

Bratislava region governor Pavol Frešo said that the Bratislava regional authorities had to comply with the reservations of Nitra region, which is why they decided not to grant a licence to RegioJet. Licences can be issued either by the Bratislava regional authorities or Banská Bystrica regional authorities - the authorities linked to the departure or end station. Still, the agreement of all regional authorities along the route is necessary.

RegioJet head Radim Jančura believes that the decision was at odds with Slovak laws, and he has announced that an appeal will be made to the Transport, Construction and Regional Development Ministry. RegioJet will also approach Banská Bystrica regional authorities with the same request, he told TASR.

RegioJet’s parent company Student Agency is already running international bus lines in Slovakia, while RegioJet itself operates a regional rail link between Bratislava and Komárno and a fast-train link between Bratislava and Košice.

After the recent announcement by Dvonč, Nitra Regional Government is following suit – claiming it is ready to file a criminal complaint over a local billboard campaign organised by RegioJet, TASR leared.

(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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