Passengers prepare to take Ukrainian Railways to court


Ukrzaliznytsa [Ukrainian Railways] should not only take money from passengers, but also answer for inconvenience caused by the bad quality of services. This was the tenor of an appeal initiated by Maxim Shcherbatyuk, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union lawyer who has long suffered from the reforms and “improvements” brought in by the monopoly holder  It was endorsed by over 340 people.

The signatories, like many other Ukrainians, understand certain simple things that the Ukrzaliznytsa management for some reason have difficulty understanding. For example, that it is not normal if your train regularly breaks down and is three to four hours late.

It is not normal to not be able to buy tickets for a night train due to the lack of such trains.

Nor is it normal to pay huge amounts of money to travel in an uncomfortable carriage.

Fpr some reason the Ukrzaliznytsa management are refusing to admit that the reforms carried out from 2010 to 2012 have been unsuccessful.  This refers to the changes in timetable; the removal of many night trains; the introduction of fast connections with the use of Hundai trains; restrictions of the rights of Ukrzaliznytsa staff and their trade unions.

All of this is resulting in train travel becoming less accessible; an increase in the cost of tickets; reduction in comfort; and infringement of railway workers’ rights.

The Ukrzaliznytsa reforms have resulted in a constant shortage of tickets on night trains and the lack of an alternative is meaning that people are forced to pay virtually double for their journey without the proper speed, comfort or reliability.

These Hundai trains are regularly 3-4 hours late. They’re uncomfortable with no room for your legs and passengers are squeezed up next to each other.

The fact that staff have also suffered has been demonstrated by several trade union protests, as well as infringements against the trade unions themselves which are reported.

The author and signatories of the appeals stress that they are prepared to pay for train travel but insist on it being comfortable and not in trains that constantly break down. They also demand a choice between expensive and cheaper trains.  And to be treated with respect and compensated when the service is bad. 

If this does not happen, they plan to lodge collective civil suits in court.

Slightly adapted from the text by Maxim Shcherbatyuk, UHHRU Lawyer

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