TALLINN – From Monday, Estonian bus operator Lux Express will start serving passengers on Latvian intercity routes and the Riga-Jekabpils-Livani-Daugavpils route was the first to be opened.
Lux Express, which has so far served international routes in Latvia, started operating in the Latvian domestic market thanks to the partial opening of the country's regular traffic market on Sept. 1. Until now, all Latvian bus traffic was served only by state-ordered and state-subsidized bus services, but in September a precedent was set and the first permit was issued to operate the Riga-Daugavpils route on a commercial basis.
"Our goal and mission has always been to provide a service of significantly higher quality than usual bus traffic. As in Estonia and our other markets, we also offer our passengers fast connections, excellent travel comfort and a wide range of on-board services in Latvia. Traveling between cities by bus must be a safe and comfortable holiday for the passenger, so that those who have so far traveled from one city to another by car will also prefer it as their first choice," Lux Express CEO Ingmar Roos said.
Lux Express will make two daily departures in both directions on the Riga-Jekabpils-Livani-Daugavpils route. A third, additional departure will be added on days when passenger demand is higher than usual. The route will be served with 57-seat buses with all amenities, including seats with ample leg room, a toilet, free internet, a vending machine with free hot drinks and media screens for each passenger, with a wide selection of movies, music and audiobooks.
Due to restrictions imposed in Latvia to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, only 80 percent of passenger seats are available to passengers. "Given the continued spread of the coronavirus, opening a new route in a new market is a serious challenge and business risk for us, but we hope that the innovative service in Latvian bus traffic will be positively received by local passengers. The goal of Lux Express is to build a quality service route network connecting the bigger cities in Latvia. We hope that in the near future the Latvian authorities will allow us to launch regular traffic on the Riga-Liepaja, Riga-Ventspils and other local long-distance routes," Roos said.
Ticket sales for the new bus route started on Oct. 7. Prices start from five euros on the website of Lux Express. Tickets can also be bought from the ticket offices of the bus stations along the route, where the ticket price is 11 euros. Unlike current Latvian train and bus operators, Lux Express offers discounts on its routes to passengers up to 26 years of age as well as those aged 60 and over.