A new carrier took over the suburban bus transport in the Bratislava Region on November 15, but its start has been accompanied by several problems.
The company Arriva has replaced Slovak Lines, which had been operating the buses in the region for 72 years. Yet many passengers waited for their buses to take them to school or work in vain. The problems are particularly due to the shortage of drivers, the TASR newswire reported.
The problem had been reported by Slovak Lines, which struggled to secure several bus connections in the past weeks.
Arriva now says that about 50 lines will be affected by restrictions, particularly those in the districts of Senec and Pezinok. The preliminary estimates suggest that this concerns about one quarter of all bus lines.
“We’re working on solving the problems as soon as possible,” said László Ivan, head of Arriva, as quoted by TASR. His company has apologised for the problems.
Even though the carrier published a list of affected bus lines on the evening of November 14, passengers talking to TASR said that there were problems even with buses not mentioned on the list.
Region becomes involved
Responding to the issue of insufficient drivers, the representatives of Arriva said that they had offered the bus drivers the same conditions as Slovak Lines.
“Some decided not to accept the offer, others could not start working for objective reasons,” the company explained, as quoted by TASR. Arriva is trying to find new drivers, including drivers from abroad.
The company also said that it had only five weeks to prepare the launch of buses as the agreement was signed in early October, following several obstructions.
Meanwhile, the representatives of the Bratislava Self-Governing Region have become involved. The region’s governor, Juraj Droba, met with the representatives of Arriva on Monday afternoon.
He expects the new carrier to come up with a plan that will secure bus connections in the entire region. If not, the region is ready to impose fines, he added.
Checking the current situation
The least affected seem to be the bus lines running in the direction of Malacky and Šamorín.
Apart from the missing bus connections, some passengers have reported problems with their chip cards, which can be used in the integrated transport system. The company operating the system responded that it is discussing solutions with technicians.