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"Lux Express" to offer free rides from Riga to Liepaja for one month in protest against subsidies to public transport companies

26.08.2013
 | Nozare.lv

"Lux Express", the Baltic countries' largest bus operating company, will offer free bus rides from Riga to Liepaja and back for one month starting from next Monday, August 26, in protest against the current situation in Latvia's passenger transport system.

"Lux Express" CEO Hannes Saarpuu said in Riga today that the existing regulations on passenger transport in Latvia do not contribute to the development of quality and modern passenger transport services.

"The existing framework, which provides that the passenger transport market is closed and the government constantly subsidizes operators, is irresponsible and can only function in the short run. The non-existent competition between passenger transport companies makes providing modern and high-quality services to passengers impossible," said Saarpuu.

The "Lux Epxress" head emphasizes that intercity public transport in Latvia should be liberalized, at least on routes between Latvia's largest cities. Operators could therefore diversify their products and service levels. Such a system has been adopted in Scandinavia, Germany and Estonia, where increasingly more people choose buses over private automobiles due to lower cost and higher comfort.

"Probably the most important advantage of deregulating the market is that the government will not have to pay such large subsidies to passenger transport companies as now, which every year results in extensive discussions. Public transport needs to have more passengers who would prefer buses to their automobiles, not the ever-increasing government subsidies," added Saarpuu.

Although "Lux Express" does not have the right to provide its services within Latvia, residents should have the opportunity to see what the quality of passenger transport could be in the country. That is why, starting next Monday, a top-class "Lux Express" bus will be offering free rides from Riga to Liepaja and back for one month, said Saarpuu.

The free "Lux Express" bus tickets can be won at the "www.atklajdavanu.lv" website.

"Lux Express" is an international passenger transport company operating in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia. The company's passenger turnover last year amounted to 650,000.