Bucharest mayor-elect vows to free public transportation

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The Bucharest mayor-elect Gabriela Firea pledged to find “the best solution” so that the public transportation should be free of charge.

The modernization of the public transportation in Bucharest is a priority to me, along with the improvement of the standards for the cyclists. I will find the most suitable financial ways so that the transportation should be free of charge, in a reasonable time, precisely in order to encourage as many Bucharesters as possible to use it,” Firea told a press release on Wednesday.

This doesn’t mean that the RATB staff, which is selling the tickets right now, will be unemployed. We’ll find solutions for everyone. I want to create jobs for Bucharesters, not increase the unemployment rate. I will do everything I promised during my electoral campaign,” the mayor-elect also said.

The Romanian Capital city has the largest transport network in Romania, and one of the largest in Europe. The Bucharest transport network is made up of a subway network and a surface transport network. Although there are multiple connection points, the two systems operate independently of each other, are run by different organisations (the metro is run by Metrorex and the surface transport network by RATB) and use separate ticketing systems.

The surface transport in Bucharest, that Gabriela Firea referred to, is run by Regia Autonomă de Transport Bucureşti (RATB) and consists of an extensive network of buses, trolleybuses, trams and light rail. The RATB network is one of the most dense in Europe, and the fourth largest on the continent, carrying about 1.7 million passengers daily on 85 bus lines, 23 tram lines, 1 light rail line and 15 trolleybus lines. However, it does suffer from severe overcrowding.

Low floor Mercedes Citaro buses are the main type of bus used in Bucharest(about 99%), running on almost all the routes. There were 1,000 of them overall in 2015, of which around 99% are wheelchair-accessible (low floor) and around 55% are air-conditioned.

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