Bus firms shutting down amid airlines, railways rise

Bus firms shutting down amid airlines, railways rise

IZMIR - Anatolia News Agency
Bus firms shutting down amid airlines, railways rise

The Head of İZOTAŞ Bülent Korkmaz. AA photo

Bus companies around Turkey are being forced to shut down due to financial struggles as intercity bus transportation is hit by the reduced cost of airline journeys and increasing fast train investments, according to a sector professional.

“The number of licensed bus transportation firms has decreased from 600 to 330 in the last 10 years,” said Bülent Korkmaz, the head of İZOTAŞ, which operates the intercity bus terminal in the Aegean province of İzmir.

The passenger occupancy rate in the buses was around 40 percent as trip numbers have fallen by 30 percent when compared to recent years. “Almost every month a bus transportation firm is shut down,” he said. Korkmaz said road transportation was quickly losing its market share because of progress in airline and railway transportation in the last decade.

Long-distance trips of more than 600 kilometers have especially fallen sharply. Some companies have been forced to halt trips for eight months of the year and work only in the summer season, while others organize trips only once or twice a week during the eight months.

Korkmaz called for assistance for the sector, which employs 4 to 5 million employees, adding that industry representatives and federations had already applied to the ministry. The İZOTAŞ said they had demanded a reduction to the special consumption tax on fuel by 50 percent and a decrease on the value-added-tax on tickets to 8 percent.