Protesting Coach Operators to Hold Bus Processions in Sofia, Varna
The National Association of Bus Transport in Bulgaria informs that coach companies will stage a protest bus procession in Sofia and Varna on Tuesday.
Between 100 and 150 buses are expected to take part in the procession, while other sources claim that around 200 coaches will participate in the protest.
In Sofia, the procession will start at noon from the southeastern entrance to the city at the neighbourhood of Gorublyane, with the buses slowly moving on Tsarigradsko Shose boulevard, then passing through the centre and the building of parliament before reaching their final destination - the central bus station.
Among the main demands of the protesters are: the application of effective measures to fight the informal sector; devising new republican transport scheme; setting up uniform general terms for the award of public tenders; clear mechanism for compensations and subsidies; revoking toll taxes for buses on regular bus lines; legislative changes.
Coach operators are particularly discontent with the planned introduction of toll taxes.
According to representatives from the sector, the introduction of toll taxes will lead to increase in the prices of tickets by 15 %.
Estimates suggest that due to the taxes already applicable to the sector, 50 % of firms have terminated their activity.
Last week, Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski made a commitment to address two of the issues posed by coach companies, namely changes to the republican transport scheme and a categorisation of bus stations.
As regards the grey sector, compensations and subsidies, toll taxes and vignette stickers, the minister vowed to assist in the convening of a joint meeting with responsible deputy prime ministers and ministers.
Coach operators are firm that unregulated bus journeys should be criminalised and taxes should be levied on each paid bus journey.
According to them, 50 % of intercity bus journeys are carried out by companies operating in the informal sector, while the corresponding figure for international bus journeys reaches 70 %.
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