📩 04/03/2022 13:05
Increases in gasoline and diesel fuel and highway fees affected intercity bus companies. Ticket prices increased by 233 percent. There was a decrease in the number of passengers. Bus companies want prices to be cheaper.
Troubles in the economy, the harsh sanctions of countries after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, led to an increase in fuel prices along with oil. In the past days, 88 cents in gasoline and 1.51 TL in diesel have increased. Thus, the liter price of gasoline has exceeded 17 lira. This situation was also reflected in the intercity bus ticket prices. The cheapest ticket was 80, the most expensive ticket was 450 lira. Bus operators especially demand the reduction of VAT on diesel and bridge-highway tolls.
Passengers are also surprised when they see the prices. Citizens, who said that the prices have increased 2-3 times compared to last year, expressed that they have difficulty even traveling now. In Esenler, at the city's largest bus station, company officials and federation representatives asked, “How did the hikes affect the intercity bus ticket prices?” and asked the passengers, “How did you find the ticket prices? Will you be able to travel with the old frequency at these prices?” he was asked. The responses were as follows:
“WE CAN'T GET THE FREEDOM OF TRAVEL”
Birol Özcan (President of the Turkish Bus Drivers Federation): The wheels of the buses will not be able to turn in the future. Not only diesel price hikes; Highway entrances and exits and bridges also impressed us. In addition, not only diesel, bridge and highway tolls; Other additional hikes also affect it. Since the citizens do not have the financial strength, they cannot have the freedom to travel, they cannot go wherever they want. In this case, the buses go empty. Instead of making the hikes, I think it is necessary to reduce the costs of buses. How is that? For example, it is necessary to reduce the SCT and VAT on diesel. It is necessary to reduce the 18 percent VAT on the tickets. It is necessary to reduce tolls on bridges and highways
“NEED TO DOWNLOAD COSTS”
If you reduce costs, we do not want a raise. When you make a raise, you take the money out of the passenger's pocket, and they cannot travel. For example, I am amazed; 1000-1100 buses depart from this bus station daily, 300-400 of them go to Thrace. The rest goes to Anatolia or the Mediterranean. Why don't they pass us over the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge? There is a difference of 70 kilometers. A bus burns an extra 70 kilometers of diesel on a trip to Ankara, 70 kilometers back and 140 kilometers back. These costs need to be lowered.
“WE STARTED TO BE SHAME”
It costs 871 liras for a bus to only pass through the Osmangazi Bridge and go to İzmir at previous prices… Now the price hike has come, this figure will reach 900-950 liras. There is also this much return cost, only highway and bridge money. Osmangazi only. Except for Yavuz Sultan Selim... How would you ask for a price in return? We are ashamed to give a price to the passenger. We started to feel ashamed.
“THE LOADING RATIOS OF THE BUS ARE NOT ENOUGH”
We currently do not have passengers except weekends. It fell a lot. Before Covid-19, 1300-1500 buses were entering and leaving Istanbul Esenler Bus Station daily during the winter months. In the summer, this number rose to 2300. It went up to the 2800s during holidays and semester breaks. It's going around 1000-1100 right now. Also, the occupancy rate of the buses is not 100 percent.
“LAST YEAR 7 LIRA THIS YEAR 17 LIRA”
Alaattin Çendek (Shift manager of a travel bus company): The diesel we bought for 7 liras last year is 17 liras this year. However, this is reflected in the citizens. I want this from the state; Let the bus community make the VAT rate on diesel 1 percent. It is applied on airplanes and ships; Let them apply to us. In this case, the citizen travels cheaper. How much should the bus driver buy diesel for 17 liras and take the passenger for?
“THE CHEAPEST TICKET 80 LIRA”
Buses, which used to be 10-15 rows every day, are now 5 rows. The cheapest ticket is 80 lira, you are going to Çorlu. The most expensive ticket is 450 lira, you go to Van. The total cost of a vehicle going from Istanbul to Van is around 16 thousand liras. We used to make 5 cars a day, now we have reduced it to 2 cars. Why? In order to achieve sufficient occupancy rate.”
“TICKET TO KONYA 300 TL”
Sebahattin Geçitli (passenger): When I came last year, the ticket price to Konya was 90 lira. Now we saw that it was 300 liras. Expensive of course. (Will you be able to travel as often as you used to at these prices?) Absolutely not. I am a construction site worker, I come to Istanbul out of necessity. Traveling in a special situation is not possible. There is almost no one in the bus station anyway. In the past years, we were shoulder to shoulder with people here because of the crowd. I saw that this place is empty right now, I'm sorry.
“WE WANT THE PRICES TO BE CHEAP”
Mustafa Erşahin (passenger): I will travel to Malatya, I paid 300 liras. (Will you be able to travel as often as you used to at these prices?) Of course… We have apricot orchards there, we go back and forth. It won't work if we don't go. Even though the ticket price is 500 TL, we have to go. As citizens, we want prices to be cheaper. (Can you commute more often if they're cheap?) Sure. If we go 4 times a year, we will go 10 times if it is cheap.”