Thursday, 10 May 2007

The capital to be paralyzed

The big news is that on 15th of May all public transport drivers are planning a strike. They will demand for higher salaries and, of course, will continue blaming both the state and the municipality for the low level of salaries.
What's the story behind: there's an argue between state and municipality about financial issues concerning public transport companies. As they are public, they depend mostly on the subsidies of the state and the municipality. Some of them make huge losses which are covered by these subsidies. There is a regulation for state- and municipality-owned companies which defines the conditions for salary increases. If the company is making losses, the salaries are not increased. Another very important point is the decision for financial decentralization which allows all municipalities in Bulgaria to receive the major part of the collected local taxes. For the municipality of Sofia this is a huge income. Apart from that majorly the municipality is financially responsible for the public transport companies. In our case - for Sofia Public Transport Company (SKGT).
Well now, here we have a stike planned, the drivers will protest mainly against the state. As mentioned above, not the state but the municipality has the biggest responsibility for SKGT.
Reading between the lines: the mayor of Sofia - Boyko Borisov - is using any opportunity to play dirty games against the government (well, the opposite happens as well).
In our case the state is within its right.
Whether the salaries are really low and drivers deserve more or not, here we have two major issues.
1. Typically, institutions blame each other instead of showing real results.
2. Sofia will be completely paralyzed on May 15th.
There are more than a half million cars in Sofia. This means that probably about 600 000 citizens will be able to get wherever they want to.
Taxis are about 20 000, which means that other 100 000 people would be able to go wherever they want to.
Route taxis will be available: other 20 000 people.
Youngest and oldest usually don't go out: probably about 200 000 people.
And the rest? more than 300 000 people? I hope I don't exaggerate. Even if I'm mistaken about the number, I'm sure that the ones that will be imacted the most are the pensioners and the students. Also employed but without a car. Like me.
Another problem will be that everyone who has a car will use it - unlike normal situations when sometimes public transport is used.

So, let's sum up:
- more traffic jams
- pure luck to get a taxi
- pure luck to get inside a route taxi (marshrutka)

=>It will be a very exciting Tuesday.

If I can, I'll make updates with photos.

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