“Costs for the operation of urban public transport are constantly increasing, and carriers have exhausted cost-saving measures in recent years. Losses must be compensated by the founders, i.e. the cities, or an increase in fares is at stake,” said Tomáš Pelikán, chairman of the Association of Transport Companies of the Czech Republic.
This year, cities and municipalities will cover about two-thirds of the increase in the costs of transport companies, and the remaining part will probably have to be taken care of by the carriers themselves. According to statistics, the biggest contribution to the increase in costs is the rising price of electricity.
In recent years, a number of cities have invested a lot of money in modernizing their fleet or buying new vehicles that are friendly to nature and the environment. “Now we don’t know if there will be enough funds left in our budgets for their operation and maintenance,” said the mayor of the statutory city of Pardubice and member of the board of the Union of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic, Martin Charvát.
According to the union, a government compensation package could be the solution. This should help the cities to rehabilitate the current losses and, according to the association, the cities would not have to cancel or at least limit a number of their transport services.
Energy costs for carriers were already rising last year. The situation of transport companies is worsened by the fact that it follows the coronavirus pandemic. According to the association, more than 34 percent of passengers in public transport decreased during the pandemic, and the total loss of transport companies exceeded 1.8 billion crowns.
For this reason, some transport companies raised fares already at the beginning of this year, ticket prices rose for example in České Budějovice, Pilsen and Opava. In some other cities, town halls increased compensation.