poniedziałek, 24 września 2012

Lack of border crossings in the crossborder region

Kostrzyn/ Kuestrin upon Oder

In the past we made a successful Polish- German bike tour around the Odra river estuary and another one in the Odra Valley near Berlin, just on the Polish- German border.

During the second bike tour we protested against the lack of bridges and ferries across the Oder. There are remnants of former bridges, there is even a kind of a half-bridge that is a remnant of a previous bridge that existed in Eisenhuettenstadt before the second world war. I myself attended the gymnasium in Neuzelle near Eisenhuettenstadt and in order to get to the other side of the river one needs to travel at least 50 kilometers to cross the nearest bridge.

Before the second world war there was at least twice as many bridges and multiple river ferries. There were tramway lines that crossed the current border in 5 towns on the border. Currently only in one town one can use urban public transport to cross the border- and- recently- new bus route that crosses border, was opened in Slubice/ Frankfurt upon Oder. Often between the towns you have only vintage tramway tracks, as in Gubin/Guben. Railway connections are scarce. Most of public transport across the border was stopped when state-owned railway monopoly in Poland withdrew its services on the Polish side. Currently it is possible to cross the border by public transport only in two places. There is only one line, that is served by private operator (in Kostrzyn-Kuestrin) provides services every 60 minutes, the other one is operated by the state-owned monopoly and provides remnant services (for example 3 times daily) with devastatingly poor patronage.

Bus connections do not exist because of some bureaucratic barriers except for one case (Goerlitz/ Zgorzelec) and, most recently- Słubice/ Frankfurt. Local organisations have organized already several demonstrations. On the Polish side the situation looks rather bad, as most young people are migrating from the poverty zone that stretches along German border. So the future looks rather hopeless.

Adam Fularz

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