At Question Time of the Riigikogu, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson replied to the questions of Urmas Kruuse on the organisation of free public transport.
Kruuse asked the Minister to specify how the free public transport in Estonia was organised, and if the public transport centres could establish a zero price to, for example, students and senior citizens.
Simson pointed out that from 1 July, travelling by bus would be free in 10 counties. She said that by today, Põlvamaa, Võrumaa and Valgamaa in South East Estonia, Hiiumaa, Saaremaa and Läänemaa in West Estonia, and also Tartumaa, Jõgevamaa, Järvamaa and Ida-Virumaa had decided for free bus transport.
According to Simson, this year’s state budget makes it possible to pay one hundred percent for the present network of bus lines in counties, that is, in each county, the route network is covered by a subsidy from the state budget.
“Last year, two thirds of the public transport finances came from the state subsidy, and one third from selling the tickets,” Simson said. “Each country has the possibility to adopt free transport, and if they do this, they will also have the possibility to make the route network denser, and if they will not do this, they still have the possibility to make the route network denser.”
Simson said that five counties were considering continuing with the present system. The Minister’s Regulation provides for the possibility to use different systems from 1 July: to establish a zero ticket price, to continue with the existing price, or to make discounts. The Minister assured that the local governments would preserve all possibilities given by the regulations of county governors up to now, or by the current Public Transport Act.
Simson also replied to the question by Raivo Põldaru on the road user charge and the question of Enn Meri about the ports of Saaremaa.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas answered the question of Krista Aru on the designated spatial plan of the planned biorefinery. The Prime Minister also replied to the question of Kristen Michal regarding the governance culture, and the question of Mart Helme about foreign students in the Estonian universities.
Minister of Social Protection Kaia Iva answered the question of Jaak Madison concerning the value-added tax on appliances for disabled persons, and the question of Monika Haukanõmm on the responsibility for organising care.
Verbatim record of Question Time (in Estonian): http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/et/201806061300
Video recordings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
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