Bus company SEBE has had problems both with delivery of buses due to come on line in Pärnu and Pärnu County from April 1, and with limits on the recommended maximum numbers of people on a bus at any one time, which the Health Board (Terviseamet) currently has set at five.
The coronavirus pandemic has prevented new buses, ordered from Turkey, from arriving, however, according to a report on ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Monday evening.
"There are [new] 39 buses in total[due in Pärnu], but 18 of these are still trapped in Turkey for the time being," said Andrus Kärpu, head of the Pärnu County public transport center.
"They are not crossing the border, but a solution is being sought. Initially, 21 new buses will go on line from April 1," Kärpuk continued.
Kärpuk admitted that there were in any case fewer passengers taking Pärnu buses due to the coronavirus than before. At the same time, the yardstick for passenger numbers has changed as a result.
"At present, we can say that if there are five people on the bus, it is in line with the Health Board's recommendations, and it is already a full bus," he said.
Üllar Kaljuste, SEBE board member, said that the bus company has a lot of work in Pärnu and the county as a whole on the horizone, crisis notwithstanding.
"Yes, our area is expanding seriously. There are 39 buses to the north of Pärnu County, and we currently serve 28 buses, so we're talking about quite a few buses in total. Some lines in Pärnu have been taken down, but they are primarily school-related," Kaljuste said. Estonian schools have been closed for over a week as a measure against the spread of the virus.
"We're taling about a very small volume that is currently reduced in services," Kaljuste went on.
SEBE's focus is in providing public regular services, I.e. its work is procured via public procurement.
"All our work done through public procurement is servicing line kilometers under the grant. At the moment, public transport centers are all continuing to outsource this service. There has been no decline in SEBE's volume," said Kaljuste.
SEBE's buses also have breathalyzer ignition locks fitted, and a bus will not start until the driver has proved that he or she is sober. The buses also meet the Euro 6 emission limit requirements, and can be easily boarded, including with a wheelchair, stroller or similar, the company says.
Editor: Andrew Whyte