Buses from the Republic of Srpska, after a three-month break, travel again to Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and only BiH citizens who have residence and work permits in European Union countries can travel.
The coronavirus pandemic parked buses back in March, and travel to neighboring countries and Europe was disabled. Lines to Belgrade were established at the end of May, and at the beginning of this month, the residents of Srpska were enabled to travel to Montenegro.
Buses of the company “Neobas” from Banja Luka were among the first to leave for the European Union yesterday.
– The buses to Germany and Austria have left, and they will leave tomorrow on the line to Switzerland. We drive only citizens who have a visa to the European Union, while on the way back we can bring citizens of BiH, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro – explained the director of “Neobas” Nemanja Buha.
He emphasized that the interest in the first two lines was very bad, but that they have a slightly larger number of reservations on their return to BiH.
– Although transportation is approved, social distance in buses is necessary, so a maximum of 50 percent of filled seats is allowed. In addition, masks are mandatory, and the recommendation is not to include air conditioners but to open windows and shutters, which is an additional problem because new bus models that have air conditioners do not have the ability to open windows – said Buha, adding that it is allowed exclusively transit through the EU and that breaks while driving must be kept to a minimum.
He emphasized that the buses of this company had been parked for three months and that their quarterly income was zero.
The buses of the company “Boro Cvrtkovci” from Doboj will also leave for the European Union on Sunday.
– Although we are leaving for Salzburg again, the situation is not at all favorable. Tourists still can’t go, so our calculation is very meager in all that. Foreigners cannot enter our country, so on the way back we only drive our citizens – said the deputy director of this Doboj company, Zoran Tutnjević, adding that the carriers are grappling with problems.
The European Commission has recommended that restrictions on travel to the EU for citizens of BiH, Serbia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Albania and self-proclaimed Kosovo be lifted as of July 1st, given that their epidemiological situation is similar or better than in the EU.
Tickets more expensive
Nemanja Buha pointed out that, given all the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, “Neobas” was forced to adjust ticket prices.
– The price increase has been forced. Tickets are ten to 50 percent more expensive on average, depending on pre-pandemic prices dictated by competition. For example, the ticket to Vienna has risen in price by about ten percent, while the ticket to Germany is up to 50 percent more expensive – said Buha.