Bulgarian Railways with New Action Plan
The new strategy for stabilization and development of the Bulgarian railway service BDZ will be ready until the middle of February, as announced by the CEO of the company Vladimir Vladimirov on Wednesday.
At a round table organized by Industry Watch Bulgaria, experts, analysts, European Commission representatives and government officials discussed an action plan to improve the financial condition of BDZ.
The company has been struggling to stay afloat. A revelation that a huge amount of diesel has been stolen from the trains over the course of the past two years has recently added up to its dire financial situation.
Vladimirov pointed out three main factors that need to be in tact, if the service is to become more capitalized - fast speed trains, more comfort for customers, and respective price adjustments. He explained that the average speed in the Bulgarian service is 55 km/h, as compared to 150 to 300 km/h in more developed countries, reported by money.bg.
The customers of BDZ are mostly students, retired and underprivileged people, and we are unable to attract middle-class passengers, Vladimirov said.
In January Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski addressed the issue by cancelling train services with little return. The decision was reversed and most of the stopped trains will start operating on February 1.
Deputy Transport Minister Anton Ginev and economic experts stated that concession could have a positive effect on BDZ's financial condition. Currently, Bulgarian government funds the company by BGN 200 M annually and only 10% is used for investment. The ratio of subsidies to capital expenditures should be 50:50, economist Georgi Angelov explained.
Deputy Manager of BDZ's Passenger Services, Dimitar Kostadinov said on Wednesday that ticket prices will most probably not increase this year
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