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27-02-13 Poland, In Crisis, Cuts Public Transport, Stranding Thousands

27-02-13 Poland, In Crisis, Cuts Public Transport, Stranding Thousands

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Published by William J Greenberg
On February 18, the national trains company, PKP, published the list of rail lines that will close over the course of the year. In total, some 2,000 kilometers of track will go out of use. Train stations on the closed lines will be sold. According to the list, PKP will lose 800 train stations.
This is part of an ongoing, decades-long process. Since the transition from communism to democracy that began in 1989, PKP has closed around 5,000 kilometers of rails, which connected predominantly small cities and communities that were forced to bear the brunt of the impact.
On February 18, the national trains company, PKP, published the list of rail lines that will close over the course of the year. In total, some 2,000 kilometers of track will go out of use. Train stations on the closed lines will be sold. According to the list, PKP will lose 800 train stations.
This is part of an ongoing, decades-long process. Since the transition from communism to democracy that began in 1989, PKP has closed around 5,000 kilometers of rails, which connected predominantly small cities and communities that were forced to bear the brunt of the impact.

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Published by: William J Greenberg on Mar 23, 2013
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POLAND, IN CRISIS, CUTS PUBLICT RANSPORT, STRANDING THOUSANDSWED, 2/27/2013 - BY PAWEL WITA2 0 0 0 Teresa Mikołajczak is a retiree living in Wojnowo in the west of Poland. The nexttown is six miles away. To visit the doctor she needs to travel 10 miles. Teresa hasno car. She used to make the trips by bus but these days that's an impossibility.“Tomorrow I must go to the dentist and now I'm struggling to figure out how to getthere and how to get back,” she said, because there are no buses in Wojnowoanymore.Poland was widely praised as the European state least touched by the financialcrisis in 2008. Its economy grew even when all of its neighbors, including Germany,were in recession. With the wave of funds provided by the European Union in recent
 
years, the country managed to connect its major cities by freeway and improve itsinfrastructure with shiny new sports fields.At the same time, Poland climbed in education to 14th worldwide, according to themost recentPISA rankingby the Organization for Economic Cooperation, putting itahead of the U.S., Sweden, France, Germany and the U.K.But these types of development are only one side of the coin, as Teresa'sexperience shows. In Poland's version of modernization, like in many other places,the biggest advantages have gone to cities while the countryside has become evermore marginalized. This might be a positive trend -- if Poland's rural population didnot still include 40% of its inhabitants.And in the case of losing public transportation, things here couldn't appear morebackward.“At the beginning of the year we waited for a bus with some of my neighbors. A fewpeople were going to work, others had various errands," Teresa explained. "The bushad a relatively huge delay, so I decided to call the company to find out what washappening. A man told me that the connection had been suspended. It was such ashock for us that I started to cry. They left us without any bus connection.”A similar shock awaited people far beyond Wojnowo. PKS, the company responsiblefor commuting people by bus in the region, suspended 88 connections at thebeginning of 2013. The simple reason, according to a PKS spokesperson: “Wecouldn't afford to maintain these connections."And that same economic excuse has, more recently, also justified the closure of commuter rail lines by the Polish National Trains company.On February 18, the national trains company, PKP, published the list of rail lines thatwill close over the course of the year. In total, some 2,000 kilometers of track will goout of use. Train stations on the closed lines will be sold. According to the list, PKPwill lose 800 train stations. This is part of an ongoing, decades-long process. Since the transition fromcommunism to democracy that began in 1989, PKP has closed around 5,000kilometers of rails, which connected predominantly small cities and communitiesthat were forced to bear the brunt of the impact.Granted, the quality of public transport in Poland has never been very good; even inthe past, the schedules of buses and trains weren't frequent enough. When Poland joined the E.U. in 2004 and customs agents on the border with Germanydisappeared, used and cheap cars from Germany became widely available.Since then, the number of passengers taking public transportation has decreasedwhile the number of private cars on the roads has risen dramatically - a trend that

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