SuperVia, a concessionaire that manages 270 kilometers of the railway system in Rio and 11 other cities in the metropolitan region, filed this Monday (7) a request for judicial recovery in the TJ (Court of Justice). Debts total R$1.2 billion.
The company claims that it was seriously impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which restricted the movement of people and caused a sharp reduction in the company’s revenues.
Trains circulating in Rio and in the metropolitan region have stopped transporting 102 million passengers since the start of the restrictive measures taken to try to prevent the spread of Covid-19, back in March of last year.
The request, says the concessionaire, aims to “preserve the provision of service to thousands of train passengers in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro and initiate a new cycle of negotiation with creditors and the granting authority in order to overcome the current crisis through which the concessionaire passes”.
The scenario is no different in other concessions in the country, according to data from ANPTrilhos (National Association of Passenger Transporters on Rails).
Trains and subways broke a negative record for passengers transported last year, the first in which the country had to live with the Covid-19 pandemic.
From about 11 million passengers carried per business day in 2019, the total dropped to 5.8 million last year, according to the association.
According to SuperVia, the reduction of passengers in the pandemic represents, until the last 2nd, a financial loss of more than R$474 million.
Before the pandemic, the concessionaire transported an average of 600,000 passengers per day, a number that is currently parked at 300,000 passengers, which means a 50% reduction.
The scenario, however, was already worse and reached 70% reduction in the second half of last year.
The concessionaire said it expected the recovery of passenger flow to take place in the second half of this year, but the country’s economic crisis and the deepening crisis in Rio changed the forecast for recovery, now expected only for 2023.
“The company, as well as the entire passenger system in Rio de Janeiro, does not have any government subsidy and basically supports itself with funds from ticket sales. The company’s debts add up to approximately R$ 1.2 billion, a large part of it accumulated to pay the cost of the loss-making operation during the pandemic”, says an excerpt from a statement from the concessionaire.
The company informed that it will seek “the necessary and urgent economic-financial rebalancing” of the contract with the government of Rio.
In addition to the loss of revenue, trains in Rio have been the target of cable thefts, firefights between rival groups, death and even a funk ball inside a car at the height of the pandemic.
In March, a video circulated on the Internet showing a crowd gathered – without masks, some with beers in hand – in a SuperVia car. The party would have coincided with the day that Brazil recorded 2,815 deaths caused by Covid-19.
On April 4, a 26-year-old woman died after being shot in a robbery inside a train in the North Zone and, in the first quarter of the year alone, there were at least five cases of shootings around the railway lines, which damaged the railway. system operation for 11 hours and 18 minutes.
In addition to the capital, the commuter train system operates in Duque de Caxias, Nova Iguaçu, Nilópolis, Mesquita, Queimados, São João de Meriti, Belford Roxo, Japeri, Magé, Paracambi and Guapimirim. The 270 kilometers of concession are divided into five branches, three extensions and 104 stations.