Many Arriva buses yet to arrive. Operator of Bratislava's suburban buses lacks drivers

Response to job offers from as far as Georgia and Tajikistan.

The new fleet of Arriva buses.The new fleet of Arriva buses. (Source: TASR)

People waited in vain for suburban buses that either arrived late or not at all. This was the result of switching the operator of suburban buses in the Bratislava Region, which Bratislava Mayor Matúš Vallo described as a mega faux pas.

There is a lack of bus drivers in the region in general. Arriva, the new operator of suburban buses in the region, and the Bratislava Self-Governing Region (BSK), which oversees suburban bus transport, justified the bus outage with the short period the new operator was given to prepare for the change.

As a result, more than 30 percent of scheduled bus lines are not running even after 10 days since the new operator took over from Slovak Lines, its predecessor. BSK gave Arriva a deadline until Friday, November 26 to improve the situation, otherwise it would take steps that have not been specified so far.

“We urge the carrier to use all alternatives and secure services for the inhabitants of the Bratislava self-governing region,” said BSK head Juraj Droba, as quoted by the Denník N daily. He said the acceptable outage of buses is 5 percent. He ruled out the possibility of Slovak Lines returning.

Related articleChange of carrier in Bratislava Region causing problems Read more 

Arriva claims that it has been working on improving the situation and promises to solve it. The company did not give a specific date.

“Each day we are signing contracts with new drivers and immediately putting them into service,” Petra Helecz, the sales and communication director at Arriva Slovakia, told The Slovak Spectator.

Arriva has discussed compensations with mayors of affected municipalities without giving any details.

Price was decisive

BSK promulgated a tender for the new carrier in April 2020, i.e. about 19 months before the termination of the contract with Slovak Lines when the price was the decisive factor.

Arriva Mobility Solutions, a member of the Arriva group, won the tender with an offer of €334 million excluding VAT. The consortium of Slovak Lines and TD Transport SK ended up second with a price of almost €357 million. Autobusy Karlovy Vary with an offer of €382 million ended third. The originally assumed value of the order was €390 million.

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