Over the course of the last three years, virtually no buses have been imported, while some economic agents working on domestic routes have accumulated debts of over 18 million lei owed to gas stations. An unsolved issue since 2012 is the stagnation of fares for commuters on urban and suburban routes, which led to the creation of the passenger transport shadow economy. Today, roughly 50% of the transport operators work on the black market - they do not have authorizations, they overcharge passengers and they do not use bus terminals, said Vladimir Florea, president of the Employers Association of Transport Operators and Roads.
Estimates show that lost revenue to the budget is 300 million lei.
Vladimir Florea mentioned that in 2012 the rate was increased from 0.36 to 0.48 leu per kilometer. Since then, no fare adjustments have been made, even though fuel and maintenance costs have increased. According to Vladimir Florea, representatives of the new government said that they understand the problem and promised solutions, yet nothing happened. In his opinion, the political class deflects the issue of raising tariffs because it wants to avoid consumer dissatisfaction.
One solution, according to the employer association representative, would be to deregulate the market, so that operators decide by themselves what fares to apply in order to stay competitive. Such a practice has been successfully applied in Ukraine.
Referring to the auto fleet, Vladimir Florea said that operators need support in order to upgrade their fleets, as to provide better passenger security. Some buses are 35 years old, while the average is more than 20 years of age.