Different ministries to regulate public transport management, investments

Madis Kallas.
Madis Kallas. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

As a result of the reorganization of the ministries the Ministry of Regional Affairs will be in charge of public transportation planning and administration, while the Ministry of Climate will be in charge of investments in this area. It is unclear who will be in charge of the mobility reform, but according to the regional minister, no additional funds have been given for demand-based transport, and the higher ticket sales would be utilized to maintain current levels of service.

Madis Kallas (SDE) told ERR that the signing of the public transport agreement is still pending, but that it has been agreed that its planning and organization will remain the responsibility of the Ministry of Regional Affairs, while investments related to public transport will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Climate led by Kristen Michal (Reform).

"We are currently discussing with Michal the exact solution," Kallas said.

Furthermore, the government intends to implement a mobility reform, with the coalition agreement promising the end of free regional public transportation and the development of demand-based mobility. According to Kallas, which ministry will be in charge of this reform is another unsolved issue.

"This is what we discussed with the climate minister a few days ago: how and in what way to proceed. I don't like to rush things; next week we will specify it again so that it is logical and yields the best result; let's not speculate beforehand," Kallas said.

Nonetheless, he acknowledged that the issue would be primarily the responsibility of the regional ministry.

In response to a question regarding how much money the state could provide for the development of demand-based public transportation, Kallas said that there are no plans for additional funding this year or next based on the present state budget and the possibilities for the longer term.

Specific reform implementation methods must be developed in order to assess how much money is required.

"For the time being, we are maintaining the current level of service with the money from ticket sales; future developments will be first implemented as planned and then we will assess how much money can be raised through the budget strategy," he explained.

The minister added that it is now clear that demand-responsive public transportation cannot be achieved to the extent anticipated by the SDE for 2023 and 2024.

"However, we must develop our own concrete solutions for the expansion of on-demand transportation as well as the Elron bus project from train stations," he added.

"All of these solutions require very precise planning and we are more likely to reach this phase in 2024."

The regional minister, like many others, did not see the partition of public transportation between the two ministries as a problem.

"Investment in infrastructure are very distinct areas," Kallas said.

He could not say when the climate and regional affairs ministries would finalize the topics of public transportation, but he said that discussions will continue this week and department heads will continue to provide new details because there are many factors to consider, and while there is a need to reach a conclusion quickly, there is also a determination not to rush the process.

"The big picture is in place," Kallas said, "but there are many details that need to be worked out."


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Karin Koppel, Kristina Kersa

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: