Since the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, the problems of bus companies linked to the tourism sector have been ever-growing. The Hungarian government has granted tax reductions to many companies, but these are not among them. Therefore, many Hungarian bus companies can go bankrupt, so the employment of more than ten thousand people is in danger.
According to Index, one of the biggest victims of the coronavirus is tourism, since the income in that sector is zero nowadays. Therefore, the government gave generous tax reductions for tourism-related companies to help them survive. At first, travel agencies were not among those who received the discounts, but later, they got included. However, bus companies that are equally important for a functioning tourism sector continue to be left out.
Despite the fact that they have lost their income, just like travel agencies or tourist guides did, they have not received any reductions or facilitation as of yet. According to Gábor Stiller, owner of Five Stars Bt., they cannot understand that because
they also contribute to tourists having a good impression of Hungary.
Their company gives work to 100 people who are now in danger. They have already fired 10 pc of their employees, but if the government does not give tax reductions, they will have to do so in the case of 50 people or more. Stiller said that competition between companies in the sector is significant, so if many Hungarian companies go bankrupt, Czech, Romanian, and Polish competitors can take their place, where governments support them in these difficult times.
The revenue of bus companies started to fall at the end of 2019 because many tourists come to Hungary from Asia, but after the epidemic broke out there, they stopped travelling abroad. When the virus appeared in Europe, all governments forbade their citizens to travel abroad. All such companies
have three sources of income: tourism, students, and workers.
However, each one of these has disappeared over the last few weeks.
They say that, since they bought their buses on credit, a moratorium on paying these would already help a lot. In Hungary, approximately 1,500 companies have a license to offer passenger transport services, and they have 7,500 buses. Most of the companies are micro and small ones, having no financial resources for a crisis. Therefore,
many buses were taken out of circulation.
10-11 thousand people currently work for these companies, including not only drivers but also mechanics or dispatchers. Together with their families, the problem affects tens of thousands of people. Many companies have already let their drivers go, who cannot find work in the public sector, so they need the help of the government.