Monday, 28 February 2022

Croatian Bus Carriers Available to Croatian Government for Ukrainian Refugees

February 28, 2022 - The largest Croatian bus carriers, Arriva and Čazmatrans, as well as other carriers included in the Association of Croatian Bus Liner Carriers (UHAJLP), announced that due to the situation in Ukraine and the increased number of refugees from the war zone, they are ready to make their fleet available to the Government of the Republic of Croatia, the Civil Headquarters, and the Croatian Civil Cross to provide the highest quality and fastest possible assistance.

The carriers are ready to hand over their buses and drivers to transport refugees from Ukrainian border areas to Croatia.

"The refugee crisis is at the door; we are currently witnessing huge crowds and hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Ukraine in various ways. We want to contribute to human resources and vehicles because it is our responsibility and the only way refugees can be organized and efficiently transferred from the Ukrainian border to designated locations in Croatia. Numerous counties have announced that they already have prepared capacities to accommodate hundreds of victims. We, therefore, call on them to contact us in coordination with the Civil Headquarters so that we can transfer more refugees to the locations they have envisioned. We are also at the disposal of the Government of the Republic of Croatia for everything else that is needed to resolve this crisis," said Dražen Divjak, General Manager of Arriva in Croatia, on behalf of the Association of Croatian public bus companies.

UHAJLP brings together large and small domestic private companies that make up the domestic transportation system with huge capacities, thousands of buses, and over 8000 workers. It is a system of strategic importance for the Republic of Croatia and would have been difficult to survive during the pandemic if the Government had not preserved it with its measures for the last two years. Carriers are also partners with much of the local and regional self-government. They are now ready to give back to the community in which they operate through assistance in resolving at least part of the Ukraine refugee crisis. 

Source: Dalmacija Danas

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Sunday, 23 January 2022

Croatian Bus Carriers in Trouble Once Again: State Must Intervene

January the 23rd, 2022 - Croatian bus carriers are facing serious issues once again after being severely damaged by the global coronavirus crisis, restrictions placed on travel and a lack of state aid.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, due to the spread of coronavirus and the large increase in the number of people infected with it, an increasing number of schools across the Republic of Croatia are switching to distance learning (the so-called Model C), which puts Croatian bus carriers in an awkward position with major problems with their student transport contracts. This came as a warning from the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), which pointed out the illogicality and non-functioning of contracts for the bus transport of students.

HUP explained that many Croatian bus carriers have contracted the transport of students for 180 days per year, but due to the closure of schools in some areas they were left without what was contracted and lost all of the income that was promised with it.

"We understand the reasons why schools switched to distance learning, but for us it means that the buses run empty or are forced to stop running completely. Of course, fixed costs such as utilities, fuel, leasing and the payment of wages to workers and drivers remain the same every month, regardless of which model the school we drive for decides to operate with. That's why it is fair to recognise that there is 'force majeure' in these contracts and to pay carriers at least the cost of a cold drive worth 50 percent of the agreed amount during which students have distance learning,'' said Damir Pavlovic from HUP, adding that otherwise the so-called model A will not mean the return of students to schools because there will be no one to transport them when the epidemiological situation finally does calm down.

''Most Croatian bus carriers won’t be able to cope with this''

HUP also made sure to note that the criteria and the way of co-financing the costs of public transport for the country's high school students are based on a government decision from back in 2018, long before the pandemic struck, where the calculation was based on the price of ordinary Eurodiesel, which then amounted to 8.37 kuna. Today, the prices of basic Eurodiesel start at a significantly higher 11.29 kuna, which is an increase of 35 percent, and fuel is a key input cost that largely defines the business of Croatian bus carriers.

"Due to the coronavirus crisis, bus transport is one of the most endangered industries because any spread of the infection reduces the number of regular passengers we transport. The epidemic has obviously entered its critical phase and we're asking the state to please try to adapt to these new circumstances. If we don't recognise the costs of cold storage for student transport and if we don't introduce the appropriate measures to preserve jobs, everything that has been done well so far will mean nothing, and take down the vast majority of bus operators who won't be able to withstand this pressure with it,'' concluded Pavlovic.

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