Monday, 1 July 2013

Communication breakdown

Schools are out, the holiday season's here - and Warsaw embarks on its annual bout of road and rail refurbishment. Trouble is, there's so much of it, that the city's transport network suddenly becomes choked. Just when you'd expect things to get looser. things get crunchy and inconvenient.

Let's start with the fact that many term-only bus routes have been curtailed, and that summer holiday timetables apply, which means buses are less frequent than for the rest of the year. The 319, serving Jeziorki, for example, disappears until September.

I left home in good time to catch the 9.55 bus at Trombity bus stop, only to see the 715 sail past, nearly empty, at 9:52. So I board the 10.01 209, changing for a 709 on Puławska, only to get embedded in a God-almighty traffic jam at Al. Lotników/Wałbryszka. It took 12 minutes to move the bus one stop from there to Wilanowska.

Getting there, I discover there's no trams (below). They've ripped up all the tracks (again). Crossing the road again to get to the temporary bus stop to catch a replacement bus service, the Z-2; I miss it. The timetable says the next one's in ten minutes. I set off on foot - and another Z-2 whizzes past me three minutes later. I carry on, three stops down the road, to Królikarnia, where I finally catch a tram to Pl. Unii Lubelskiej, arriving at the office 1 hour and 15 minutes after leaving home. At this time of day, it can take under 40 minutes.

Puławska is being widened around the junction with Poleczki, the extension of Al. Ken to Mokotów is being taken across Puławska a little north of the Metro station. The tram's out of action from Królikarnia all the way to Wyścigi, the Metro itself is cut in half, runs only as far as Politechnika (southern section) and Ratusz-Arsenał (northern section). Centrum and Świętokrzyska stations are both closed for the summer as the crucial intersection between the existing first line and the new second line is built. An ul. Świętokrzyska has been closed for ages as work on the second Metro line continues, as is Targowa around Wileńska station.

Access to the Most Łazienkowski bridge is being restricted as on-ramps are being refurbished, further adding to east-west communication woes. And you cannot get a suburban train to take you directly across the river - you have to change at W-wa Zachodnia or Wschodnia, as the Most Średnicowy bridge is being refurbished too.

Lot of work going on - good, should be ready by 1 September - good, but in the meantime, lots of inconvenience for Varsovians who're not holidaying the entire nine weeks.

I'm as well informed as the next person, reading Gazeta Stołeczna every day, taking note of official announcements plastered onto the windows of trams or at bus stops. But somehow news of the tram closures passed me by, as did the roadworks on Puławska, and the scale and scope of the Most Średnicowy remont.

There seems to be only one answer - the bicycle. Motorists - I have no sympathy for them as they sit fuming in the korki. But public transport is hit just as badly by the summer remonty as the short-distance one-per-car commuter.

Tomorrow morning I'll be talking about all these issues on Radio Dla Ciebie on Grzegorz Chlasta's morning show (I'm on air between 7:34 and 8:00).

This time last year:
Getting ready for the opening of Modlin airport

This time six years ago:
Maybugs in July - a plague of cockchaffers

No comments: