Public Transport Price Hikes Likely, Says Road Administration ({{commentsTotal}})

The Road Administration said the state does not have the means to increase subsidies for public transport, meaning companies will seek to increase ticket prices.

The state subsidizes public transport to the tune of 65 million euros this year, with 23 million going towards inter-county bus lines and a similar sum to Elron, the state-owned rail passenger company, ERR radio reported on Tuesday.

Speaking at a transport conference on Tuesday, MP and head of the Parliament's Economic Affairs Committee, Kaja Kallas, said the percentage of the ticket that is subsidized should not get out of control, adding that buses on the Tallinn-Tartu route manage without state help, while trains on the same line receive subsidies, which means competition is unfair.

Andrus Ossip, head of Elron, did not mention a need for more state support or higher ticket prices as their passenger numbers are increasing, but did say they will have to look at the situation as rail cargo volumes are experiencing a sharp decline, which will mean passenger trains will have to cover more of the cost at some point.

Head of the Road Administration, Lauri Lugna, said state subsidies have increased each year, but income from ticket sales has remained at the same level, which will change soon.

“We have signaled county governments that ticket prices should be increased because at the end of the day, Estonian inter-county public transport is not free,” Lugna said.