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Friday, September 17, 2021

Warsaw. Activists criticize the cuts in communication. The city hall replies: passengers are still fewer than before the pandemic

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Activists from the association Miasto Jest Nasze accuse the town hall of drastic cuts in public transport after the holidays. “The cuts in communication are more crowded, while we are likely to face the fourth wave of the pandemic” – they warn. The Public Transport Authority explains that there are fewer passengers than before the pandemic, and the timetables were prepared on the basis of thorough research.

“Public transport in Warsaw in September does not return from vacation! The number of passengers will increase significantly, because students of all years of primary and secondary schools return to full-time education” – warns Miasto Jest Nasz. And he enumerates that the subway, trams and bus lines: 104, 105, 108, 114, 122, 158, 181, 191, 194, 523, E-1 and E-9 will not fully come back “from vacation”. And on weekends also 131, 179, 193, 507 and 520 are left with reduced “holiday” schedules.

“At weekends, only one line runs every 10 minutes – 189. At the beginning of last year, there were a dozen such lines” – they indicate.

MJN: saving at the expense of passengers

Remote work is still popular, according to activists, but this “does not justify such drastic cuts in public transport.” According to them, it must run frequently if it is to be an attractive alternative to cars. They give an example of Kraków, where most holiday timetables were withdrawn already in mid-August. “In Krakow, # Dasia, Warsaw saves passengers at the expense of passengers” – they criticize.

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And they judge: “When Wiesław Witek left the position of ZTM director in 2020, there were rumors that he was fed up with defending Warsaw communication against schedule cuts and budget savings at the expense of passengers. Today we know that. Director Katarzyna Strzegowska is more concerned with the budget than with passengers. city ​​We hope that together with the departure of Vice President Soszyński responsible for public transport, the changes will go further and ZTM will be ruled by a person who wants to take care of public transport and actually develop it “.

We wrote about the changes in public transport from September here >>

Decline in passenger numbers due to the epidemic

We asked Tomasz Kunert, spokesman of the Public Transport Authority, for a comment. He explains that the decisions resulted from the situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. – We still do not have as many passengers as it was before the epidemic. Right now, that’s about 50 percent of those who drove before the outbreak. On the other hand, the highest result that we achieved during the epidemic was 63 percent compared to the period before the epidemic. Since the first lockdown, from the beginning of 2020, there has never been a number of people in vehicles at least similar to the one we had before the epidemic – he explains.

ZTM data also shows that during the holiday season before the pandemic, the number of passengers dropped by about 30 percent. – Today we have half as many. It is hard to expect that 100 percent of the people who drove them before the epidemic will suddenly return to our vehicles in September. The distributions that we propose after the holidays result from the analysis of the situation. You need to pay attention to all key bus lines they come back full-time, including suburban ones – argues the spokesman for ZTM.

He points out that those that do not return to the pre-holiday schedules are 12 lines in total. “We estimated that they could stay in as many vehicles as there was during the holiday season,” admits Kunert. And he adds: – We changed the holiday schedules of several dozen lines, and only the mentioned 12 of them do not return to the previous treatment.

There is a one-minute difference in trams

What about trams? – A rush hour change is actually a one minute change. Because now trams on the city’s main highways run every five minutes and ran every four in the pre-epidemic period. One minute for a passenger waiting for a tram is completely imperceptible – he estimates. And he adds that there is no situation where passengers do not fit in the trains.

However, when it comes to the metro, ZTM has very precise data from the gates. – We know the flow of passengers between individual stations, where passengers use ground communication, and this also affects the analysis of bus connections. We leave the metro because the current supply is sufficient, explains the spokesman.

ZTM: we can adjust the timetables at any time

Tomasz Kunert ensures that ZTM constantly monitors the number and behavior of passengers at large transfer nodes. – Always in these difficult moments for public transport, we collect data not only from buses, but also from people who work in the city. We can change or correct these distributions at any time, he assures.

He also points out that in September, students are not returning to the city. – We are prepared to introduce changes on an ongoing basis based on the analysis of the data we have, possibly later in the period when the academic year begins and the universities may return to full-time education – argues Kunert. Finally, he notes that he is not sure how the epidemic will develop and what possible restrictions will be introduced. – If they are, we will decide what corrections to introduce – he sums up.

In May, activists from MJN argued that strict restrictions on communication were not needed:

In Poland, extremely strict limits on the number of passengers in public transportMateusz Szmelter / tvnwarszawa.pl

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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