Private bus carrier RegioJet wants to service the route between Bratislava and Banská Bystrica through Nitra Region despite the fact that regions failed to grant it the necessary transport license, the Sme daily wrote on January 8.
Last year, Bratislava Region Governor Pavol Frešo (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union-SDKÚ) refused to grant the license to RegioJet, arguing that Nitra Region refused to grant approval, and that he had to take this into consideration. To operate buses, RegioJet would need the approval of three regions involved.
Nitra Mayor Jozef Dvonč told 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.
RegioJet will, however, most likely receive a licence to operate the bus route Bratislava-Nitra-Banská Bystrica, as Banská Bystrica region (BBSK) governor Marian Kotleba has promised to comply with RegioJet’s request, the company’s director Radim Jančura said at a press conference on January 7.
Kotleba does not want to interfere with free market competition, as the bus line will not be subsidised, and so he sees no other option than to grant the licence, Jančura said as quoted by TASR. He believes that BBSK has already received negative stances to the issue from Bratislava region and Nitra region, but it can ignore them if they aren't justified. Bratislava region earlier rejected RegioJet’s request for licence, pointing to the negative stance of the Nitra regional authority.
BBSK should decide on the matter by January 14. If it grants the licence, RegioJet will launch the line as of February 1. On the other hand, if RegioJet does not get the licence, it will launch the line anyway. According to Jančura, RegioJet will officially serve as a special carrier for a specific group of people on the route – those who have signed a petition on RegioJet’s website against cronyism and corruption in Slovakia.
Following the refusal of Bratislava region to provide the licence based on Nitra region’s negative stance, RegioJet has placed billboards in Nitra, as of New Year’s Day, that read: "Welcome to a region of corruption and cronyism. Region: Nitra. Responsible: Milan Belica, governor. Town: Nitra. Responsible: Jozef Dvonč, mayor". Similar billboards have also been placed in Bratislava, with governor Pavol Frešo described as responsible for cronyism and corruption in the region.
Dvonč is to file a lawsuit concerning the billboard campaign.
(Source: Sme, TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
8. Jan 2015 at 14:00