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Bus companies still hesitate to merge into one

Date Posted: 2002-07-13

A plan to combine the four bus companies operating in the prefecture into one is still fighting an uphill battle. All four existing companies have bled red ink for years, but are still insisting that the new company should pay more for their assets.

The existing companies insist that their assets are worth ¥12.8 billion but the new company says that ¥10.4 billion is the most they would pay.

The existing companies have also turned several times to the prefecture in the past asking for subsidies to cover their losses, but so far the prefecture has steadfastly refused. “This is a problem for those private companies, not a problem for the public sector to solve,” an Okinawa Prefecture spokesman said.

The new company has presented plans to streamline operations, cut personnel and unprofitable routes in order to ensure it can operate in black.

Amid questions by politicians who say that cutting unprofitable routes would be unfair to people living in those areas, not to mention the plight of those who would lose their jobs, prefecture officials are adamant. “It is first the task for those businesses to put their house in order and create a viable entity. Perhaps we can then see if we can secure some assistance from the central government to ensure that people get social services they need,” the spokesman said.

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