Public transport companies want action over fuel prices

Czech public transport authorities have joined road hauliers in calling for government action to combat a rise in fuel prices. The former say price increases have greatly increased their outgoings and are demanding that the state reduce tax on fuel.

Photo: ŠJů,  Wikimedia Commons,  CC BY 4.0 DEED

The Association of Public Transport Authorities said on Friday that hitherto government steps have been of little help, the Czech News Agency reported.

On Thursday the Česmad Bohemia road hauliers’ association called for financial assistance and a reduction in the excise tax. If the government do not comply, the truckers are ready to protest.

Association of Public Transport Authorities chairman Tomáš Pelikán said doing away with blending bio-components into fuel, which the government recently announced, has not affected price as the relevant legislation has not been amended yet.

Transport companies are exempt from road tax, so this relief will not affect them either, Mr. Pelikán said.

Public transport authorities say that the current situation greatly complicates the return of transport to a standard regime after two years of Covid restrictions.

They say that during the epidemic they saw a fall of over 34 percent in passengers, losing over CZK 1.8 billion in total.

Tomáš Pelikán | Photo: Honza Ptáček,  Český rozhlas

The association has therefore come out in support of Česmad’s proposals for a possible capping of diesel and compressed natural gas prices, and in particular the reduction or abolition of excise duty for carriers, Mr. Pelikán said.

He said that the association wanted to avoid either possible transport restrictions or price increases for passengers.

Road hauliers say that the current high fuel prices have increased the cost per kilometer by six to seven crowns. Česmad said this means that smaller companies in particular are in danger of bankruptcy.

The hauliers have asked the government for direct financial assistance and a reduction of the excise duty on diesel to the EU minimum, i.e., by about 1.60 crowns per litre.

If ministers don’t meet their demands they are ready to protest, though no decision has been made on the form such demonstrations would take.

Photo: Radio Prague International

On Thursday, the Ministry of Finance announced the de facto postponement of value added tax payments for road transport entrepreneurs until the end of October this year, as well as a waiver of the quarterly advance payment for road tax for the whole of 2022.

The government has previously introduced, at the suggestion of hauliers, margin controls throughout the fuel distribution chain, the abolition of mandatory blending of bio-components and the abolition of road tax up to 12 tonnes.

However, these measures have not been effective, the hauliers say.