Free train travel for students is illegal. Finance Ministry to verify how subsidies are granted, transporters’ confederation says

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The Confederation of Authorized Operators and Carriers in Romania (COTAR) claims that the transportation free of charge by train for students is illegal and asks for clarification from the Ministry of Finance on how the subsidies are granted and how the tickets for students’ rail transport are settled.

COTAR representatives are dissatisfied with the fact that free transport for students applies only to rail transport, not to road or water transport, and to make the data publicly available for control.

“We consider that this gratuity is illegal and discriminatory, only by rail transport, for both CFR Călători and private operators, but excluding road or water transport, although there are areas in the country where students could not go by train. We consider that the strategy launched earlier this year has a political goal, the target being to support certain categories of carriers and to obtain financial benefits from public money,” the trade union’s release on Thursday reads.

On the other hand, COTAR calls for the verification of the 80% subsidy to rail transport only for “obtaining funds from the state budget.”

In this context, COTAR wishes to be notified when the last inspection of the General Anti-Fraud Office, the ANAF, the Control Division or the Court of Auditors, was carried out at railway companies receiving unjustified state aid from the state budget.

“Given that the free transport for 450,000 students is made without a real record of tickets purchased, it is clear that ‘countless’ travel tickets for this category can be issued, and without being able to check whether the operation is fictitious or real, in the absence of cash, for any ticket. Thus, Mr. Ionuţ Mişa (Minister of Finance) is bound by his position to notify the criminal investigation bodies to determine who has left those breaches and for what purpose,” the document reads.

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