Prime Minister Andrus Ansip has weighed in on the criticism faced by state-owned passenger rail operator Elron, saying that it should have cooperated with Elektriraudtee which it replaced on intercity lines on January 1.
Elron should have refrained from a conflict with Elektriraudtee, Ansip said today, speaking in front of Parliament. He said that Elektriraudtee's services could have been utilized until July, when the last of Elron's brand new trains arrive in Estonia.
Minister of Economy Juhan Parts had earlier told Postimees that state subsidies to Elektriraudtee amounted to 15 million euros a year, but trains make up only 2-3 percent of all public transport trips and an extra six months of subsidies would have been very expensive.
Ansip said that the new trains should provide seating for all passengers on longer trips such as the 2-hour ride between Tallinn and Tartu, and that refreshments should be sold on board.
He also said that he apologizes for the inconvenience that travelers on the new trains have had to endure since Elron took over on January 1, but said that passenger numbers have increased 25 percent during the same period.