The coronavirus pandemic has caused a sharp drop in the number of railway passengers in Poland. However, the situation is changing. After the epidemic collapse, trains became a popular mode of transportation in the country again. The increases are also significant compared to other European countries.
According to data from Eurostat and the Polish Office of Railway Transport for 27 countries, in the first half of 2022, compared to the same period in 2020, The number of passengers in Poland increased by about 54 million. It was only better in France (223.8 million), Germany (211.6 million), Italy (123.9 million), Spain (88.9 million) and Turkey (60.5 million).
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When it comes to growth rate, Polish Railways ranks seventh. In the comparable periods, the number of passengers in Poland increased by about 52 percent. Turkey was unrivaled with an increase of 120%. Followed by France (68.6%), Italy (63.5%), Slovenia (62.2%), Portugal (55.1%) and Spain (53.4%).
However, the data clearly shows that the increases are not necessarily related to the fact that the quality of railway companies’ services has improved significantly. The vast majority of travelers in Poland still use trains to go to work and school.
A problem as old as the Polish railways
UTK has published a new second report on passenger satisfaction with carrier services. 57.6% rated it as good or very good. Let’s note that the survey was conducted in December 2021. However, respondents indicated problems that have not been eliminated. exactly the contrary.
Most of the answers to the question “what features negatively affect countries vis-à-vis railways” have to do with delays. Almost 80% said so. respondents. This problem was further exacerbated during the summer holidays of 2022.
In July 2022, 55.5 percent arrived on time. PKP intercity trains. in August – 58.27 percent. After the holidays, the situation certainly improved, but the delay in September was caused by every fourth train. However, not only this carrier has problems with punctuality, although – let’s emphasize – it is easier for regional carriers, operating on shorter routes, to arrive on time. They just have less “chance” to slip.
UTK reported that in the first quarter of 2022, about 40.2 thousand were delayed for at least 6 minutes. trains. In May-June – more than 45.6 thousand. And from July to September – almost 60 thousand. We are still waiting for more recent data.
PKP schedule of systemic change
More than 55 percent of respondents indicated Inconvenient transfer offer As a factor negatively affecting the railways. In third place, which is somewhat related to the above, are transmissions that are not well connected.
Added to this is the fourth and fifth most frequent problem – High ticket prices (almost 39% of the responses) and poor tariff integration for carriers (34.2% of the responses). In the upcoming UTK study, more commuters are expected to complain about rail travel costs than in December 2021.
PKP Intercity ticket price jump
In 2022, due to inflation, ticket prices are increased by almost all railway companies in Poland. Recently, PKP Intercity announced another increase – for the second year in a row.
– I don’t remember such a big increase in ticket prices in the past 10 years. This is completely incomprehensible, especially since we, as a society, spend billions of zlotys on subsidies and investments in the PKP PLK. This is untenable – says money.pl Piotr Rachwalski, former head of Koleje Dolnośląskie and founder of the Institute for Railway Development and Promotion.
– VAT on fuel has been abolished, but rail electricity prices have not been frozen. The heart of government is asphalt and we are going in the opposite direction to the rest of Europe which is trying to reduce CO2 emissions in transport. We don’t have electric cars, but we do have electric trains that we keep on their sides – adds Jacob Majewski, President of the Pro Kolej Foundation.
Vague information from speakers on the platforms
Travelers also point out not only high ticket prices, but also problems with their purchase. And when asked what causes the greatest difficulties in this matter, almost 49 percent. of the respondents indicated Lack of a coherent channel with all carriers displayed.
just over 34 percent. answers on The absence of ticket offices at some stations and stops. This is a particular problem in small towns. In addition, 29.6 percent indicated long queues at the checkout. and 20.7 percent. People pointed out that there were no ticket vending machines on the trains.
You cannot purchase a ticket without the correct passenger information. Carrier websites and mobile apps are the best in this regard, rated good and very good at 76.3 percent. respondents. Speaker ads in stations are the worstOf which 53.6 percent rated bad and very bad.
The convenience of Polish railway travel is increasing
In terms of the positives, the following are the top reasons for railways: the convenience of travel (54.4 percent of the responses), the competitive travel time compared to other modes of transport (51.3 percent) and the fact that trains are an environmental mode of transport (42.3 percent).
Among the frequently noted positive changes that have taken place on the railways in recent years New and modern trains (77% of responses) and rebuilt stations and platforms (63.5%).
Certainly all of the infrastructure managers and transport companies have it There is a lot of room for improvement in terms of adapting the railways to the needs of people with disabilities and people with reduced mobility. And nearly 40% rated it bad or very bad. Respondents who declared themselves to be part of this group of travelers.
Jacek Losek, journalist from money.pl
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