Road Transport Administration plans to speak with Riga and Pieriga administrations about the fractured public transport system in the region, says the administration’s chairman Kristians Godins.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has concluded that transport planning in Riga and its region is fragmented and does not reflect Riga region’s scale. OECD believes coordination among Riga region’s municipalities is needed to form a high quality and competitive public transport system. At the same time, when planning an integrated public transport network, central government’s co-funding would have a positive effect on tariffs and schedules.
Speaking of co-funding from the central government, Godins notes that OECD is conflicted – ticket prices and schedules are dictated by the client, who also guarantees to cover losses. If the government decides to provide co-funding for city transport network, it will cost the budget more than it does now.
At the same time, he admits that OECD is correct in regards to public transport planning in Riga and the region. The problem formed as a result of objective and historic reasons, with district councils signing contracts with carriers many years ago.
According to Godins, municipalities like Adazi, Babite, Kekava and others think about securing public transport services towards the capital, but they often do not look farther than that. This results in a fractured public transport planning, considering the large number of municipalities in the region – portions of public transport services are harmonized with the capital’s public transports that travel outside Riga, but no more than that.
He says that many decades have passed since district council has signed contracts with carriers. The situation has changed significantly since then – the number of residents and private transports have both increased in Pieriga. Residents value speed, comfort and quality. This is why public transport planning should be organized in a way to help residents reach the capital as quickly as possible.
Godins expresses commitment to speak with responsible officials in Riga and surrounding municipalities to see what can be done to improve the situation. An attempt was made in spring, but municipal elections proved to be an impeding factor.
He adds that passenger train traffic plays a major role in the region. (BNN/Business World Magazine)