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Friday, February 23, 2024

Decrease in the number of bus connections. Senator Krzysztof Brejza: that’s it when it comes to combating communication exclusion

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The President of the Central Statistical Office – in response to the intervention of Senator Krzysztof Brejza – announced that from 2016 to 2022, the total length of PKS routes decreased from over 710 to just over 394,000 kilometers. “So much for the ‘fight’ against communication exclusion by the PiS government,” comments the senator of the Civic Coalition on social media. The reduction took place, although in 2019 the fight for restoring connections was announced by the president of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński.

Jałówka is a small town in Podlasie, near the border with Belarus. The nearest large city, Białystok, is about 60 kilometers away. The journey can be problematic because in June one of the connections, which previously served the residents, was closed here. – I’m going after retirementto the bank and shopping. Such a journey takes me more than two hours. There is no car, no one to drive me – says one of the residents.

Other villagers do not see the problem of cutting connections. They indicate that most of the locals have been using cars for a long time. Residents of many other towns in the country are also forced to travel by car – mainly villages and small towns. The data recently received by Senator Krzysztof Brejza shows that since 2016, the length of PKS routes has decreased from 710,000 to 710,000. 410 kilometers to 394 thousand. 359 kilometers.

Read also: “Some fifteen million Poles live in an area that is a white spot in this respect”

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The data – in response to Krzysztof Brejza’s senatorial intervention – was provided by the president of the Central Statistical Office. The data includes non-urban journeys carried out by entities employing more than nine people (excluding municipal transport). They show that the network of connections has been shrinking every year – in 2017 it decreased to 627,000. 528 kilometers (as it was noted this year, there was “no complete data). In 2020, there were less than half a million kilometers, and on the last day of 2022, the total length of bus lines was already 394,359 kilometers.

“So much for the ‘fight’ with the communication exclusion by the PiS government – wearing limousines and driving on the signal in convoys – and fewer bus connections for citizens,” Senator Brejza commented on the response received on social media.

Senator Brejza’s entryTwitter

No improvement

Łukasz Wójcik, a TVN24 reporter who dealt with the case, recalls that in 2019 the fight for the restoration of a rich network of connections was announced by the PiS president, Jarosław Kaczyński.

– In Poland, over the last several years, bus connections, mainly PKS, have been reduced by half. From almost a billion kilometers traveled to less than half a billion. We will bring it back! We will return that billion! We will restore connections – Kaczyński said then. He noted that “these connections apply to everyone, including large cities, but above all smaller towns and villages.”

Read also: 1,380 bus routes restored, but little money used

After this announcement, the government prepared a special law. Its main goal was to restore reduced bus connections, primarily in small towns and villages. On its basis, the Minister of Infrastructure – with the help of a specially created Fund for the development of bus services – subsidizes unprofitable connections.

Few local governments will benefit from subsidies for the reactivation of bus connections27.08 | There was supposed to be a great return of PKSs, but it is already known that only a handful of local governments will benefit from the PLN 300 million for the reactivation of bus connections and the creation of new ones.tvn24

Applications in subsequent calls for proposals may be submitted by communes, poviats, their associations or voivodeships. Their own contribution must be at least 10 percent. From the fund, they can get a maximum of PLN 1 for each vehicle-kilometre.

– Local government officials were reluctant to use these funds, because the support was too small in relation to the costs. As a result, restoring connections was unbearable for many local governments, reports TVN24 reporter.

Bad organization

Aleksander Kierecki from the transinfo.pl portal emphasizes that the ineffectiveness of the program results from the fact that the organization of connections is poorly organized in the country.

Expert: It's like pouring money into a bucket with a hole

Expert: It’s like pouring money into a bucket with a holeTVN24

– Local governments at the low level, i.e. communes and poviats, are responsible for extra-urban transport in Poland. In other European countries, communication is created from the top: first the voivodship, then the poviat and communes. With us, it’s the opposite – describes Kierecki.

He points out that a systemic problem causes large public money to go into a “bucket with a hole”.

– Such programs are not effective. In order to change this, the Transport Act must first be changed, Kierecki believes.

Main photo source: TVN24 archive

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