RIGA - Due to the passenger transport crisis caused by the new electric trains manufactured by Skoda Vagonka, the Supervisory Board of joint-stock passenger rail company Pasazieru Vilciens (PV) has decided to resign, pointing at the same time to the poor infrastructure, which is under the control of joint-stock national rail company Latvijas Dzelzcels (LDz), Sigita Zviedre, Head of the Communication and Marketing Department of PV, informed LETA, referring to the Chairman of the Supervisory Board Sandis Steins.
According to Steins, the responsibility for solving the crisis caused by the new electric trains goes beyond the powers of the PV Supervisory Board. In his resignation letter, Steins points to the long neglected railway infrastructure - power grids, tracks and platforms, which are not adapted to the use of the new electric trains, as well as the non-functioning passenger information system at stations and on platforms.
In the first three weeks of January alone, 26 A-level defects were found in the new electric trains, making it impossible to continue operating the trains, but before the trains were put in use, their compliance with the requirements were certified by a certification body, stresses Steins.
"Even after repeated requests, no funding has been allocated for the renewal of rolling stock, making it impossible to replace the defective trains to the required extent to ensure the performance of passenger transport functions in a crisis. A significant part - almost half - of the rolling stock is still almost 50 years old," says the outgoing Chairman of the Supervisory Board of PV.
The PV Supervisory Board consists of Steins, Inta Liepa and Imants Paeglitis. Steins has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board since December 30, 2016, Liepa was confirmed at the same time, while Paeglitis joined the Supervisory Board on April 25 last year.
The resignation was announced on the basis of Article 296(8) of the Commercial Law. This Article states that a member of the Supervisory Board may resign at any time by notifying the public. If a member resigns or is removed from office before the expiry of the term of office of the Supervisory Board, a new election of members of the Supervisory Board shall be held at which the entire composition of the Supervisory Board shall be re-elected.
As reported, Transport Minister Kaspars Briskens (Progressives) has ordered a full external audit to assess the procurement of new passenger trains.
The minister wants the auditors to examine the preparation of the technical specification, the receipt of the trains, their entry into service and the responsibility of those involved in the procurement process.
LETA also reported, there have been problems with train services for several weeks in Latvia. Initially affecting individual services, the problems have worsened in recent days, for example on Monday, multiple trains were delayed for various reasons on almost all lines.
Politicians from the government coalition surveyed by LETA said that the responsibility for the regular delays of the new electric trains should mainly be borne by Pasazieru Vilciens rail passenger carrier, not the transport minister.