Passenger transportation by rail should be subsidized by state – member of Ukrzaliznytsia supervisory board

A member of the supervisory board of JSC Ukrzaliznytsia Christian Kuhn has said about the need to subsidize passenger transportation by rail from the national budget, referring to European practices.

As Ukrzaliznytsia said on its website, Kuhn said that sufficient investment in railway infrastructure and maintaining an adequate level of passenger traffic is impossible without state subsidies.

According to him, in the passenger transportation segment, Ukrzaliznytsia annually incurs hundreds of millions of euros of loss. At the same time, unlike Ukraine, in almost all European countries passenger transportation is subsidized by the state, which allows providing the proper level of comfort for passengers.

"For example, in Germany passenger transportation at the regional and interregional level is supported by state subsidies totaling EUR 8 billion," the member of the supervisory board of Ukrzaliznytsia said.

According to him, in Ukraine, tariffs for passenger transportation are among the lowest in Europe. The situation when ticket prices after raising tariffs do not even cover the inflation rate has sharply worsened the position of the company in recent years.

"Politicians expect that Ukrzaliznytsia will keep prices low and at the same time invest in updating. This formula cannot work," the top manager of the company said.

He also said that the modernization of Ukrzaliznytsia is impossible without raising funds from the state and local budgets for the acquisition of rolling stock and compensation for losses for the transportation of passengers of privileged categories, as provided for by the law on rail transport.