LRT and tram and light rail development in Eastern European cities: dreams and reality

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - tram/light rail, place - europe, mode - taxi, mode - bus, economics - willingness to pay


light rail, Eastern-europe, Poland, willingness to pay, challenges


Thanks to financial support by the European Union, a number of tram and LRT development projects are initiated in Eastern-Europe. Some of them are well based; others seem to be "white elephant" projects. This paper summarizes experience in "new EU accession" countries together with the desired "SKOPJE LRT" scheme. Cities like Bratislava, Prague, Cracow, Miskolc, Debrecen,Szeged have nice projects to develop their existing tram systems. Besides plans for new szstems in smaller towns are in preparation. (Szombathely, Gyor, Kecskemet, Pecs with populations of 100 thousand to 180 thousand citizens.) The City of Skopje has about 600thousand citizens. Population shows a solid growth. Historically public transport is solved by bus lines and by (cheap) taxi services. During the last 45 years there is a continuous desire to implement a ~12km long tram system. A present project analyses the potential solutions. Preliminary evaluation shows that a) upgrading the present system, b) bus priority system, c) shorter and longer tram system can be the realistic solutions. Willingness to pay for the PT fare seems to be nice. (Nearly no free riders at the moment). However, the Municipality is in doubt to provide long term subsidy. Publicly and privately operated buses are financed without substantial subsidy. (1995-2010.) Payment Parking is used just in the very centre. Parking characteristics are "Mediterranean". Train connections are poor. Rural and long distance coach connections are well developed and market-oriented. The financial crisis has side effects as well. PPP solutions (cross-financing) or EU support give even more subalternatives. These mixed circumstances provide a nice challenge to prepare well based plans and decisions.


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