Protests Over Suspended Trains Continue Across Bulgaria

Society | January 17, 2015, Saturday // 16:53|  views

Protesters at the Central Railway Station in Sofia. Photo: BGNES

Hundreds of citizens participated in protests against the suspension of trains and the shortening of railway routes, which the Transport Ministry has been implementing since the beginning of the year.

Despite the promise that no more railway services will be cancelled since February 1, the discontent across Bulgaria continued on Saturday, private bTV station reports.

In the town of Karlovo around 400 people blocked the movement of the fast train between Burgas and Sofia.

Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski responded to their protests by promising to restore eight of the twelve trains, which had been halted.

Around 1000 people gathered in the town of Gorna Oryahovitsa, which is the station most affected by the changes to the timetable as 80 % of the suspended trains pass through it.

The locals compared the actions of the Transport Ministry to a genocide.

Tens of citizens, affected by the new timetable, gathered at the station of Beli Izvor – a village in the district of Vratsa.

Both railway workers and passengers expressed their discontent in the city of Varna.

They gathered signatures for the preservation of the oldest railway line in Bulgaria between Varna and Ruse, which was built 149 years ago.

The protesters in Sofia invited Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and the members of the cabinet to travel together on the train from Bankya to the capital.

This comes as a response to Borisov's words that there were only 10-15 regular passengers on the railway line between the town and Sofia.

Moskovski announced at the end of 2014 that due to a cut of BGN 40 million in the state subsidy for the railways, the optimisation of trains and workers was required in 2015.

The Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) cancelled 38 passenger trains and shortened the route of another ten services on January 12.

The cancellation of further 90 trains was foreseen from February 1, but the decision was revoked after the Finance Ministry promised on Friday to restore the subsidy, which had been initially cut.

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Tags: Bulgaria, transport, railways, protest, cancellation, suspension, trains, shortening, routes, Ivaylo Moskovski, Boyko Borisov, BDZ, subsidy, cut


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