Estonian government endorses €4 million aid for bus companies

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Lux Express buses. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

On Thursday (April 22) the Estonian government approved the terms and conditions of the distribution of the €4 million crisis aid for operators of intercity commercial bus services.

The reason for giving such aid to bus operators is a significant reduction in passenger numbers. In the past year, passenger numbers on intercity bus routes have reduced by 50 percent on the average compared to 2019, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications said.

"The coping of bus companies depends on ticket sales. Unfortunately, for almost a year already they have had to use their own reserves to stay afloat. Companies which have experienced a low for so long need support, and hopefully, we can see also passenger numbers recover in the second half of the year. As long as that has not happened, the support meant for them should offer relief," Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) said.

The minister noted that the continuation of intercity bus services ensures the preservation of mobility options for our people. In addition, the rapid relaunch of the tourism sector and other sectors of the economy depends on these services.

The plan is for the aid meant for bus operators to be channeled to eligible companies via Enterprise Estonia (EAS). The aid is meant for the businesses operating commercial bus services on the basis of a line permit who have been hardest hit by the crisis and the restrictions, to the point where the sustainability of the business has come under threat.

EAS will start accepting applications from businesses in the second half of May, after receiving permission to provide state aid from the European Commission. The detailed terms and conditions of the measure will be published in Riigi Teataja and EAS will inform about the opening of application rounds on its website.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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