Since the beginning of the year, Ukrzaliznytsia (a state-owned enterprise of rail transport in Ukraine) has introduced a fee for group booking of tickets in the amount of 200 hryvnias per ticket. Thus, as noted by MP Anna Romanova, some of the tickets went up almost twice.
The parliamentarian states: “While in other countries, on the contrary, there are discounts for group transportation, in Ukraine, the officials’ support for the tourism industry is nothing more than lip service.”
The proof of this is the fact that when Anna Romanova demanded that the management of Ukrzaliznytsia cancel the booking fee, she got a response that expenses and staff salaries had increased, so transportation by rail had become unprofitable. The author of such a non-professional response is the head of Ukrzaliznytsia, Yevhen Kravtsov, whose salary is 1.2 million hryvnias per month (!). MP says: “It is twice as much as the German Chancellor Angela Merkel earns, for example.”
In addition, Ukrzaliznytsia itself costs the taxpayers incredible funds. For example, in 2018, almost 17 billion hryvnias were spent on it from the state budget.
Anna Romanova emphasizes: “I do not mind high salaries if the manager is efficient.” However, the leadership of Ukrzaliznytsia can be hardly called effective. They do not even have a strategy for the development of railway transport in Ukraine?
In fact, Ukrzaliznytsia says that the high salaries of its management make transportation unprofitable. “From this, it follows that it is not beyond the reach of reason to suggest cancelling railway transportation then?” the parliamentarian resents, “Because soon the plane tickets will cost as much as the train tickets.”
The politician emphasizes: “High prices, low service and inefficient management with skyrocketing salaries are the result of a monopoly on railway transportation. Where there is a monopoly there is always low quality and high prices.”
The way out is the Verkhovna Rada’s adoption of the draft law on the privatization of Ukrzaliznytsia, whose co-author is Anna Romanova.
She dwells upon it: “Railways being a strategic object will remain state-owned, while a transparent competition should be held for land transportation, so that various private companies would develop transportation, without changing transportation purpose of course. First of all, the IMF recommended us doing so back last year. Secondly, we know the positive practice of the developed countries of the world that have done so.”
We shall remind that a similar bill was adopted several years ago, but the President vetoed the document.
The lawmaker concludes: “The Ukrainian railways in their length and scope are the second biggest in Europe after the German ones. We have a huge resource which we are not using efficiently.”