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Update2: Transporters give up protest, look forward to talks with Chamber of Deputies committee

The transporters have announced Thursday, at about 14.00h, they give up the protests started in the morning, as their dissatisfactions will be discussed on Tuesday, October 16, in a debate in parliament, the Federation of Romanian Transport Operators (FORT) says.

The transport operations by vans and buses have been resumed at 14.00h, the same source informs.

“Upon the intervention of the Transport Committee with the Chamber of Deputies, the protest started by FORT is to come to an end. Mr. Deputy Sotin Bota has informed the FORT leadership that on Tuesday, October 16, a debate will take place which will focus on the situation emerging from the Transport Minister’s decision. FORT leader Augustin Hagiu has been invited to take part to the debate and the federation salutes the position expressed by the Transport Committee,” a release from the federation reads.

More than 16,000 commercial vehicles interrupted the activity countrywide, reportedly for an indefinite period, in protest against the order issued by the Minister of Transports, Lucian Sova, by which he has changed the regulations regarding inter-county transport of passengers.

At 9.00h, people in 6 counties, found out that there is no van or bus in traffic, and by 10:30h the blockage had expanded to 11 counties, digi24.ro informs.

Later in the day, just before 13.00h, FORT announced the protest extended to 19 counties, with all passenger transport ceasing, expressing hope that shortly the passenger transport will stop in all counties, Hagiu said.

FORT and the Confederation of Authorized Transport Operators of Romania (COTAR) announced on Tuesday the organization of protests nationwide due to the order issued by Lucian Sova, who wants the liberalization of intra-county transport of passengers.

On Thursday, COTAR has announced that it has given up the demonstrations for the time being.

The most controversial decision is regarding the importance attached to the transporters’ experience during auctions for route assignment.

Minister Sova: This is an organized boycott

The transporters do not admit competition, use inappropriate vehicles, do not issue tickets and take on board more people than the classification, and the protest is an organized boycott, Transport Ministry Lucian Sova said on Thursday, as a reaction to the FORT protest.

“What is happening today is an organized boycott, aimed at maintaining monopolies on the inter-county passenger transport market in Romania. The strike concept is not applicable to carriers’ associations, said Minister Lucian Şova, who added that the associations of transporters have and will have the opportunity to discuss with the ministry officials any subject regarding their field of activity.

“In the past 15 years, no carrier other than the one who firstly occupied the position, very likely 15 years ago, a route from Bucharest to Urziceni, no other carrier could today make passenger transport on this route and in the vision of those who fight the project proposed by me, this should never happen,” Sova said.

“954 complaints were registered only on inter-county transport and most of them related to the following aspects: the technical condition of the vehicles, the number of persons transported over the number of seats registered, the failure to comply with the circulation schedule, non-issuing travel tickets, “Sova said.

About Victor Lupu