It is the benefits related to the use ofthe city public and inter-city transport that account for a significantproportion of the whole social support expenditure. The problem of regulatingthe transportation of passengers enjoying the right for a free ride andcompensating for the revenue missed due to the transportation of “beneficial”categories is one of the most crucial challenges facing the passengertransportation companies, because an insufficient compensation for suchexpenditures sharply deteriorates the transport companies’ economic, financial andsocio-economic position.
It was since the early ‘90s that the problem ofcompensating for the missing revenues related to the transportation ofbeneficial passengers arose: at that time, the adoption of legislative acts onthe provision of free ride for single categories of passengers both due totheir profession and social characteristics became a mass practice.
In 1990 there were only 19 categories ofpassengers had a right for a beneficial ride, in the meantime this number hasexceeded 50. As concerns the structure of passengers entitled to free ride, 75%of them received the benefit at the decisions of the federalauthorities.
According to the RF Ministry ofTransportation, between 1990 through 1999 the proportional weight of passengersenjoying the right for a free ride at the city and suburban passenger transportgrew from 21 up to 62%.
In 1999 (according to the Ministry):
the city and suburban automobile transport, domestic watertransport, city electric transport, and subway transport delivered theirservices to the population worth a total of Rb. 33.2 bln.;
to cover the expenditure related to the provision of benefits, thebudgets of different levels spent as much as Rb. 15.1 bln.
At the same time it must be noted thatsince 1977 the profitability rate ( the average tariff) per 1 “paid” passengerof the automobile, city electric transport, and subways has exceeded thecosts for the transportation of 1 passenger, i.e. by buying a ticket, thepassenger both reimburses the costs for his ride and, partly, the costsfor the ride of the passengers using the transport for free.
There are four main types of benefits atthe passenger transport set by the law:
Permanent benefits in terms of the payment for the ride atinter-city kinds of transport (inter-regional between the cities;interregional-intra-regional;
Benefits in terms of paying for single inter-cityrides;
Free ride by the city, suburban, local transport and in the ruralarea.
Benefits in terms of a priority purchase of tickets.
The characteristic features of thesebenefits are:
Quantitative uncertainty of the first and the third kinds ofbenefits (the law does not stipulate the amount of the beneficial servicesprovided;
price uncertainty of the first, second and third kinds of benefits( the current law does not stipulate any absolute or relative costs of thebeneficial services);
technical difficulties and high costs of accounting of thequantity and costs of the services delivered under the third group ofbenefits;
a great variety of different documents that provide the right fora beneficial ride. At present the right for the beneficial ride is proved by ageneral document under the status of a certain group (pension certificates,military certificate, etc.) totaled a. 60 that can hardly be controlled andeasily falsified.
The practice of implementation of socialbenefits shows that the current system of benefits bears substantial defects.The latter manifest themselves in the absence of effective mechanisms of theirfunding which leads to the situation in which the citizens that have benefitsin terms of the use of transport cannot realize their rights in a full volume,while the entities delivering the respective services cannot have their costscompensated.
Across the regions, one can note a greatdifference in the proportions of beneficial passengers in the total volume ofpassenger transportation, though the correlation between the citizens eligiblefor benefits and the whole population is approximately equal. That partly canbe attributed to the fact that in remote rural areas the beneficiary does nothave any chance to exercise his right for the benefit, while the beneficiariesin the urban area use this right constantly (Fig.3)
Because of the absence of financingsources, the provision of benefits has been discontinued in some Subjects, andthe violations of the citizens’ rights for a beneficial ride became a mass phenomenon. Theagencies of executive power receive numerous claims on transportationcompanies. The latter, in turn, seek any options not to deliver the benefits tothe citizens, and, doing this, they are often supported by the executive poweragencies in the Subjects and local self-governance bodies who imposerestrictions on the citizens’ rights in a form of “privileged days”, “privileged hours”, and“privileged routes”. The provision of benefits by small-size private passengerenterprises is an exception rather than a regular phenomenon.
Because of the imperfect system ofprovision of benefits, it is the residents that do not have benefits thatsuffer, for one of the most outspread ways to cover the costs related to thedelivery of services to the beneficial categories of passengers is to raisetariffs for the “paid” passengers.
In 1999, 63 RF Subjects used this source offinancing, while at the same time the costs of the transportation of beneficialpassengers were covered:
at 61.5%- from budget subsidies;
at 23%- at the expense of the increased tariffs for “paid”passengers;
at 6.5% at the expense of revenues from othersources;
while 7% of expenditure remained uncovered.
Insufficient funding has caused an outflowof transportation companies from a number of sectors of the market forpassenger transportation
Since 1991 the number of rural locationshaving a regular passenger commutation with the local and regional centers fellby 31%, while the length of the bus routes networks shrank by 447 Th. km. Thepassenger transportation in the countryside initially was less attractive fromcommercial point of view, and due to a great number of individuals eligible forbenefits this sector becomes even less attractive.
The differences in the amount of budgetsubsidies for the transportation of beneficial passengers have a substantialimpact on the assortment and quality of the offer of transportation serviceswhich is especially painful for the poorest Russian regions.
The defects of the benefits system creategrounds for corruption, for with budget resources being limited, bureaucratsmay consider different options as to in what amount, to whom, in what priorityorder the subsidy should be transferred. Thanks to subsidies, some citiesartificially support inefficient enterprises, while other transportationcompanies lose economic incentives for improving the quality of their work andlowering their costs.
The unprofitable performance of passengercompanies, one of the reasons for which is the insufficient compensation forthe provision of beneficial services, seriously affects budgets of all thelevels. The tax payments by this sector are negligible, while the companiesarrears to the Pension Fund are over RUR 10 bln.
The unfortunate situation in the area ofpassenger transportation has affected the economics of the related sectors: forinstance, the production capacities of the Russian bus producers are loaded at10-12%
The problem of the compensations forbeneficial rides by the inter-city railway transport has not been resolved aswell. In compliance with the Russian law, it is a. 40 categories that enjoy theright for a free or beneficial ride by railway inter-city transport. With itsResolution of May 15, 1998 # 448, the RF Government approved the Concept forstructural reform of the federal railway transport which stipulated that theprovision of benefits to the population is ensured at the expense of budgetappropriations, with a stage-by-stage transition towards targeted subsidies tosingle categories of residents allocated from the respectivebudgets.
The RF Ministry of Railway Transportationdeveloped a draft federal law, a draft presidential Decree and a draftResolution of the RF Government on the regulation of benefits in terms ofpayments for the travels by railway transport. The noted drafts provideamending the current federal law with respect to benefits to the population andcontraction in single categories of residents that currently are eligible forthe free or beneficial travel by railway transport (30 mln. individuals intotal). That would allow to decrease the sector’s costs (according to the RFMinistry of Railway Transportation) by Rb 4.2 bln. annually.
The measures in question would concernaides to the deputies of the State Duma and the Federation Council; police andtax police staff, customs officers, prosecutors, judges (including the judgesof the Constitutional Court); military personnel; subways staff, transportinspection staff; employees of the airspace sector; pupils and students of thepublic and municipal primary vocational educational institutions (to payannually for as much as 75% of the travel costs between October 1to May15).
Such radical measures, however, facedobjections from the parties concerned, and the noted drafts have failed to beagreed upon by the respective federal authorities.
Due to its magnitude and complexity, theproblem of transport benefits cannot be resolved at once – it requires a gradual solution,and it appears most expedient to regulate the system of so-called“professional” benefits.
The final objective for the reforming ofthe provision of benefits on rides by the public passenger transport shouldbecome a complete substitution for services in-kind with the respectivemonetary compensations that should be included in wages of the public employeeseligible for that as per the Russian law.
At the same time, due to a number ofreasons, both objective and subjective ones, the implementation of thisprinciple in the short run appears impossible. An alternative solution maybecome the purchase by the entity, whose employees have a right for abeneficial ride by the city and suburban transport, of tickets for rideprovided for maintenance of the said budgetary entity.
However, considering that the legislativeacts that set benefits in terms of riding the city and suburban transport arelegislative acts of direct effect, they should be amended, particularly, asfollows:
to exclude the right for a beneficial ride on the grounds ofofficial passes and certificates;
to assign to the RF Government the right to determine theprocedures and conditions for implementation of a benefit.
This necessitates the respective amendmentsto the current legislative acts related to the provision of benefits on ridingthe transport of general use.
The concept of the draft federal law “Onintroduction to the legislative acts of the Russian Federation on amendmentsrelated to the provision of benefits on using the publictransport.”
a) To amend the legislative acts that providethe right for a beneficial ride based on the official pass (ID) by excludingthe said legal provision from the body of the law and leaving the setting ofprocedures and conditions of the implementation of the benefit in the hands ofthe RF Government, at its discretion;
b) To amend the legislative acts that grantthe right for transport benefits, but not regulate the procedures of providingsuch benefits and to commission the RF Government to set procedures andconditions of the implementation of the benefit:
The procedures of the implementation of thebenefit on the payment for riding the city and urban public transport setaccording to the residents’ professions may include the following provisions:
The concept of the draft Resolution of the RFGovernment “On procedures of the implementation of the benefit on the paymentfor riding the city and urban public transport set according to theresidents’professions”
1. The residents that have benefits onpayments for riding all kinds of the city and suburban transport due to theirprofession catty out their rides on the basis of their transport documents(tickets) issued in their respective offices. Such transport documents may beboth for a long-term use (monthly, quarterly), or coupons for a singleride.
In the event the resident eligible for thebenefits uses the public transport with high consumer characteristics (forinstance, shuttle mini-buses), the respective difference in fares is payable byhim.
2. The expenditure related to the procurementof transport tickets is carried out by federal agencies that employ theresidents eligible for the respective benefits from the funds allocated fromthe federal budget of RF to maintain the said agencies’ operations.
In the event the benefits to the residentsdue to their profession are set by the normative acts of the RFSubjects’ authoritiesor local self-governance authorities, or the funding of which as per thefederal law falls under the competence of the RF Subjects or localself-governance bodies, such benefits are funded from the respectivebudgets.
3.The heads of the respective offices andagencies, whose employees have a right for benefits on paying for transportfares as per the RF la, are bound to form the lists of such employees with abreakdown of them into categories, due to the frequency of their use of asingle or several kinds of public transport. That should help identify arational and justified need in the transport documents of different kinds: forinstance, a single ticket for all kinds of public transport, a ticket for oneor several kinds of public transport, single-ride coupons, etc.)
4. Considering their needs, the agenciesprocure transport tickets on the basis of contracts with transportationcompanies or from any authorized agency. In the event of the travel related tothe exercising of their immediate duties outside the territory of therespective administrative entity, the employees purchase their tickets at theexpense of the funds they were provided to be fully accountable for them uponthe completion of their mission. Another option would be the purchase of such aticket by employee himself and at his own expense with the followingcompensation for the incurred costs on the basis of the used traveldocuments.
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