Bulgarian intercity buses in 90-minute stoppage in protest against proposed new law
An estimated 2000 intercity buses in Bulgaria were set to halt for 90 minutes on the afternoon of June 14 in a protest against a proposed bill creating a new Bulgaria Automobile Chamber.
The stoppage was set for 2pm to 3.30pm. The protest was confirmed on the morning of June 14 after the ruling majority in Parliament declined a noon ultimatum to withdraw the legislation.
Magdalena Miltenova, head of the sector union for economic initiative in transport, told local media that during the scheduled time of the protest, buses scheduled to deport from Sofia to Bourgas, Plovdiv, Sunny Beach, Pomorie, Varna, Dobrich, Isperih, Omurtag, Dulovo, Veliko Turnovo, Turgovishte, Shoumen and from Plovdiv to Sofia, would not travel.
City buses would run as usual.
Companies involved in the protest said that where people had bought tickets and would not be able to travel as they wished would be compensated. Organisers of the protest said that the inter-city buses would run, but only after a delay of 90 minutes.
According to a report by Bulgarian National Television, only two sector organisations support the bill, the Union of International Carriers and the Bulgarian Association of Road Transport Associations.
The proposed legislation envisages that the Bulgarian Automobile Chamber would make recommendations to the Minister of Transport whether or not to grant licences. Critics say that the law would, by handing these powers to the chamber, make it possible for companies to make decisions about their competitors.
Supporters of the bill say that the chamber would represent the entire sector, and was a response to “suspicious practices” at the Transport Ministry’s Motor Vehicle Administration.
During a four-hour parliamentary transport committee meeting on the bill on June 13, opposition MP Georgi Svilensky of the Bulgarian Socialist Party said that the law would likely produce the same problems “But there will still be 13 700 companies that do not want to join, and you want to force them to join”.
BNT said that the two associations supporting the bill said that if it was withdrawn, they would mount their own protest.
(Photo: Michal Zacharzewski/sxc.hu)