38 bus routes may be cancelled in Latgale this year

87 local bus routes may be affected and 38 cancelled completely as part of cutting inefficient routes in the Latgale cultural region in eastern Latvia, reports Latvian Radio January 11. 

This worries both carriers and municipalities, as residents of distant parishes may be cut off from the regional centers where they receive important services. 

Passenger numbers have been dropping in the sparsely populated region, with Viļaka municipality head Sergejs Maksimovs revealing there are routes serving an average of just two passengers per ride.

The Daugavpils bus park is the largest bus carrier in Latgale, with an average of 250 daily bus rides. 

"We would have to close 18 routes.. and it would affect a total of 52 [daily] runs, mostly in the Daugavpils and Ilūkste municipalities. Most of our routes are unprofitable. The ticket price does not cover our expenses. The number of passengers is shrinking and expenses are growing. We receive about €2.5m in subsidies," said Sergejs Mihailovs, head of Daugavpils autobusu parks.

While deadlines still have not been set, it is clear that buses will ride around 750,000 km fewer this year in the region, and routes receiving more than 75% of their revenues in subsidies will be discontinued.

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