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Transport minister talks about future of passenger transportation in Belarus

GOMEL, 9 July (BelTA) – Belarusian Transport and Communications Minister Aleksei Avramenko talked to reporters in Gomel. He talked about the digitization of passenger transportation by railway, about information technologies and healthy competition between the private sector and the public one, BelTA has learned.

The official said that the transport industry operates well, but there are things that need close attention. In particular, it is necessary to pay more attention to the promotion of healthy competition in the private sector and the public one, balance passenger transportation by road and by rail, and renew the rolling stock taking into account electrification. It is also necessary to put more efforts into the introduction of information technologies. In his words, automobile transport and railway transport play a major role in passenger transportation, this is why it is necessary to constantly improve its work, including the financing mechanism. Financing is also important for renewing the rolling stock. It is always complicated for passenger carriers and requires considerable investments and a balanced approach, the minister said. Particularly considering the introduction and growing popularity of electric transport solutions.

According to the transport and communications minister, it is important to discuss conditions for fair competition and for raising the quality of services. He referred to private and state-run enterprises as well as automobile transport and railway transport as a whole. Some bus lines and rail lines are underutilized. According to Aleksei Avramenko, it would be a good idea to update train schedules and leave only train service in some areas. “The freed resources could be used somewhere else. It is necessary to fix the existing disproportions and raise the effectiveness of all kinds of transportation,” he stressed. The introduction of digital technologies in passenger transportation by rail requires close attention. A lot has already been done, including ticket sales online and ticket sales via self-service kiosks. There are plans to intensively continue the process in the future.

The introduction of modern digital technologies in passenger transportation is important because it leads to the emergence and development of new kinds of services and businesses stemming from them. It can change competition conditions on the passenger transportation market. “Various ways can be used to improve the transport industry but we have one goal – ensure the uninterrupted operation of the national transport industry regardless of natural difficulties, technical difficulties and other ones,” Aleksei Avramenko said.

Peculiarities and prospects of development of regular passenger transportation by road and passenger transportation by rail inside Belarus are discussed in the Belarusian State University of Transport in Gomel today. Representatives of the transport industry, municipal authorities, public organizations, trade unions, IT companies, and other organizations took part in the discussion. 

Chairman of the Industry, Fuel and Energy Complex, Transport and Communications Commission of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus Igor Komarovsky also remarked upon the importance of these matters. “These are matters of pressing interest because they affect regular passenger transportation inside the country as well as the segment of social importance – transportation according to regulated tariffs. There is no doubt, private transport companies operate and very intensively develop in Belarus in a highly competitive environment. A lot of issues have been piled up in this sphere. They require solutions and state regulation and resolution at the level of agreements between subjects of legal relations – customers, operators, and providers of transportation services. All of it is geared towards an end goal – the satisfaction of the consumer of transportation services,” he said.

A number of proposals meant to increase standards and develop transportation more effectively are supposed to be worked out as a result of the roundtable session. The clear understanding of all the parties interested in future development of passenger transportation by road and by rail will become the foundation for a package of laws and regulations.