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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 07.07.2020, 15:33

Lux Express expands to Belarus

BC, Tallinn, 15.10.2019.Print version
– Estonian intercity bus operator Lux Express has opened a branch in the Belarus capital Minsk where it is running charter operations for the time being due to the country's legislation, while hoping to open a regular Minsk-St. Petersburg service in one year's time, informed LETA/BNS.

In addition to the current twice daily Tallinn-Riga-Minsk service, new departures are expected to be launched from Belarus also to the Baltic countries and other EU member states, the operator said.  

Rait Remmel, board member responsible for eastbound operations at Lux Express, said that the plan originally was to open the Minsk-St. Petersburg service already this year. A legislative amendment that took effect in Belarus lately has made that impossible, however. 

"We must now engage in charter operations there during one year, then the possibility will arise to start regular services," Remmel said, adding that the first charter services in that country have been rendered already. 

According to Remmel, the business climate in Belarus is not more difficult than in Russia.

"There's even less bureaucracy and restrictions there and our experiences generally are good," he said.

Lux Express has a subsidiary with 100 employees and 15 buses, AO Eurolines, in the Russian city of St. Peterburg. Starting in November, the company's buses will make 24 eastbound departures from the EU per day, including ten from Tallinn to St. Petersburg.

A total of more than 220,000 passengers, 6% more than last year, have traveled between Estonian cities and St. Petersburg in buses of Lux Express this year. About half of them are citizens of Russia, 30% citizens of Estonia and the remaining one-fifth citizens of other countries. 

Remmel said that the numbers of Estonian passengers in particular are on an upward trend.

"I'm quite sure that the share of Estonian citizens among the passengers will increase further as a result of the free Russian e-visas introduced from October," he said.

In addition to the service between Tallinn and St. Petersburg, buses of Lux Express run four times a day between Riga and St. Petersburg via Tartu. Four departures from Estonia's East-Viru County to St. Petersburg are operated by Lux Express Mini passenger vans. The Helsinki-St. Petersburg service is run five times a day, while the Riga-Luhamaa-Moscow service is run once a day. 

Lux Express, an Estonian company, provides regular bus services in the Baltic countries, Poland, Finland and Russia. In Estonia, over two million passengers travel by Lux Express buses every year.


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