Bulgarian Railways Announce Train Fare Hike
Train fares in Bulgaria are going up, beginning Monday, January 23, the State-owned Railways BDZ Holding announced Saturday.
The average price increase will be about 9%, compared to current ticket prices.
The changes are triggered by the increased expenses of the national railroad carrier, related to the increase of prices of diesel fuel and electric power. The price increase is the first one since July 2008. In the meantime, the accumulated inflation since then had led to significant increase of expenses to deliver transportation services. Inflation index in August 2011, compared to January 2001 is 0.9%, while the diesel fuel prices have gone up 11.3%, BDZ inform.
The fare increase is one of the measures the BDZ management announced at the end of 2011 as part of the reform at the heavily-indebted company. The expected result from it is BGN 2 M a year.
The increase of ticket prices to travel on express train with reserved seats became effective on December 1, 2011 – an average of 15% and with an expected result of BGN 0.5 M.
The reform announcement was followed by a nationwide, mass strike of Bulgarian railways workers.
The strike lasted 23 days and began on November 24.
The collective bargaining agreement between the management of Passenger Services at the troubled State-owned Bulgarian Railways BDZ Holding and the syndicate was signed on December 19.
The main outcome was that the two parties agreed to keep wages at BDZ at their current level until June 2012, and from then on – introduce a bonus system, based on job performance.
Paid leave was scaled down to 20 days, from the previous 22. BDZ workers will receive 8 monthly salaries when going into retirement, instead of 9, as before.
The labor unions staged the strike after the early November notice of the management of the heavily indebted state-owned railway company BDZ Holding that it intended to lay off 2 000 workers, and reduce the number of trains in operation by 150 (later scaled down to 138) by January 2012.
Meanwhile, nearly 1 000 workers agreed to leave on their own in exchange of 6 monthly salaries.
The protest was further marred by a number of accusations of exerted pressure. According to the latest data of Transport Minister, Ivaylo Moskovski, the losses from the strike are estimated at BGN 2.5 M.
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