State reintroduces IC trains

Four trains will travel on the Bratislava-Košice route every day, with travelling time expected to be 4:45 hours.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

State-run carrier Železničná Spoločnosť Slovensko (ZSSK) will restore the operation of IC trains on the main route between Bratislava and Košice as of December 11. The decision may, however, result in the departure of a private carrier from the route.

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“It is both an economical and political decision, but people are interested in this type of train, which is the most important factor for us,” Transport Minister Arpád Érsek (Most-Híd) told the October 4 press conference, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Read also: RegioJet increases price of tickets Read more 

The state will dispatch two pairs of IC trains a day, with the stops in Bratislava, Trnava, Žilina, Poprad, Kysak and Košice. The expected travelling time is 4 hours and 45 minutes. Passengers will have to reserve seats in advance and tickets should cost about €20 a seat.

The state scrapped the IC trains in January 2016, based on the decision of previous transport minister Ján Počiatek (Smer) who pointed to the loss the trains generated. Another reason was the threat that the private carrier RegioJet, which also operates IC trains on the main Bratislava-Košice route, would leave.

The reintroduced IC trains should be operated on a commercial principle, which means they will not be subsidised by the state. Also, people entitled for free travelling (i.e. students and pensioners) will have to pay the full price of the ticket, TASR wrote.

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Read also: Ministry: more private rail service to launch Read more 

ZSSK does not expect the trains will generate as high a loss as in the past. They should return to black numbers in three or four years, the state carrier claims.

The threat of RegioJet scrapping trains from the route still remains, however. Head of the carrier Radim Jančura says that the state has not been dealing with the main obstacle for commercial trains doing business on the main route between Bratislava and Košice, which is the free ticket for up to 50 percent of passengers.

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