Briskens expects highest possible fines for Czech Skoda Vagonka company

  • 2024-01-25
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Transport Minister Kaspars Briskens (Progressives) expects the highest possible fines for the Czech company Skoda Vagonka, Transport Ministry's representatives told LETA.

The minister also expects proactive steps and quick results in order to resolve the current crisis in passenger train transport, ministry said.

Pasazieru Vilciens, the Road Transport Directorate, Latvijas Dzelzcels, the State Railway Technical Inspectorate and the Transport Ministry will work together to eliminate the consequences of the Skoda Vagonka electric trains, the ministry said.

As reported, the fine estimated for January, Skoda Vagonka has to pay was  EUR 95,000 for failing to rectify defects in its new electric trains on time within the warranty period, but the amount of the fine increases with each day.

Defects found during the warranty period for electric trains must be rectified within a set time limit from the date of notification, including "A" level defects within 24 hours and "B" level defects within 72 hours.

As reported, Briskens 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.

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.

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.