After strikes: 10 million euros in help for transport companies

The protest action, in which 47 Bavarian bus companies took part, lasted until 9 a.m. One and a half hours later, at 10:35 a.m., the Bavarian Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) sent out a press release announcing 10 million euros in emergency aid for transport companies. As a reason for the support, his ministry cited the sharp rise in fuel prices, which “for many companies” are a “burden that threatens the existence of companies”.

The companies were also particularly affected by the sharp drop in passenger numbers during the corona pandemic. The amount would not be paid directly to the bus companies, but via the municipal authorities responsible for local public transport.

• To the article “High diesel price: Bus companies are also on strike in Lower Bavaria”

Bus companies welcome the support

When asked by BR24, the managing director of the State Association of Bavarian Bus Operators (LBO), Stephan Rabl, welcomed the step taken by the state government. According to Rabl, Bernreiter recognized the seriousness of the situation and reacted quickly and decisively. “The promised 10 million euros in emergency aid must now reach the companies urgently and quickly,” says Rabl. According to the Ministry of Transport, this should also happen.

According to the LBO, there will be no further strikes for the time being. The passengers who had had problems today due to the strikes were asked for their understanding. LBO Vice-President Isabelle Brodschelm said in a press release: “If the brief standstill this morning helped to put local and school bus transport in Bavaria back on a financially viable footing and secure it, then it has achieved its goal. “

Companies criticize that they have to pay in advance

The companies complain that they would only be compensated after a long delay. The rescue package for 2022 has not yet been decided. So the companies would already be driving like this for the fifth month. Even when the pandemic was at its peak, politicians demanded that the buses drive, so they had to compensate for losses. With every kilometer that you let your buses drive, according to Isabella Brodschelm, you make more losses.

Her colleague Wolfgang Riedlinger from Busverkehr Südbayern in Karlsfeld complained that diesel prices had increased by 162 percent when you compare the months of January to March with the previous year. The increase in the diesel additive Ad Blue 300 is 30 percent. Of course there is an entrepreneurial risk, but ultimately no one would want the medium-sized bus companies in Bavaria to go bankrupt, said Wolfgang Riedlinger.

His buses drove in the MVV area today. He confirmed the negotiations that the districts in the association had shown understanding for the increased costs. In the district of Fürstenfeldbruck there is already a bus company that is in bankruptcy.

Regionally limited strike, because not everywhere agreement with the municipalities

The focus of the protest actions in the morning were Upper and Lower Bavaria, each with more than 20 bus companies on strike, in Upper Franconia only two bus companies took part. There were no strikes in the other governorates. The manager of the regional association of Bavarian bus operators explained why there was not a strike throughout Bavaria by saying that some bus operators in their region were still negotiating with the central municipal associations, such as in the MVV area, and wanted to wait and see.

In some regions, good solutions have already been found between municipalities and bus companies to jointly cushion the price increases. However, some municipalities would still have to do some follow-up work here; the voluntary emergency aid from the state government alone is not enough. What makes things more difficult for the bus companies is that the contracts with the municipalities are almost always concluded for several years and such short-term cost increases or losses as during the corona pandemic cannot be taken into account.

Bus operators criticize the planned 9-euro ticket

According to the association, the bus operators also wanted to use their strike to point out that the financing of the 9-euro ticket had not yet been finally clarified. The federal government has a duty here; it doesn’t work without further talks. The funding must be secured in advance, not only afterwards. Only then could the local transport company recognize the 9-euro ticket.