Like most European capitals Vilnius city is facing congestion problems. It looks for solutions on how to save the time of the citizens and how to control the constantly rising private car use and pollution from traffic. A few innovations recently adopted by Vilnius city council are aimed to encourage citizens to switch from private cars to public transport in order to combat rising congestion levels.
The city this summer decided to start encouraging people to leave their cars on Park and Ride-lots in the outskirts at locations where the clogging of traffic usually starts to continue their journey into the city with public transport. From the beginning of July three Park and Ride lots were opened in Vilnius. The main purpose of Park and Ride lots is to inventivise citizens to switch from private cars to buses when entering the city center. This should reduce pressure on the limited capacity of parking lots in the city center, reduce congestion, and emission of pollutants. It would help private car users by saving their time from traffic jams and search time for free parking space and save money for paid parking. A Park and Ride ticket costs 2 Euro and for this amount the car is safely parked and it’s valid for the use of public transport.
The Park and Ride sites are located next to the main access arteries leading into the city center and nearby to stops of the rapid bus network. The roads have special lanes dedicated for public transport only thus enabling the bus passengers to reach their destinations faster than the private cars. The plan for the future is to open more Park and Ride lots in Vilnius city and hope that this will encourage drivers to change their habits, which will benefit both, city and its citizens.
It is worth to mention also Kiss and Ride stops are being reserved and increasingly used in Vilnius. Currently 80 Kiss and Ride stops are reserved on the streets. Another 190 of such stops are planned to be available this Autumn. Kiss and Ride spots enable parents to drop off their children safely and pick them up after school. Such stops have a positive impact on congestion and helps to avoid chaotic driving and short parking in the morning and after school. It has a positive impact to avoid congestion and contributes to pupils’ safety on busy roads.
Last but not least, Vilnius is renewing its bus fleet with 250 new vehicles. More than 10 years ago the bus fleet was renewed for the last time: in 2006, 90 new buses entered into service on the streets of Vilnius. Currently the average age of a bus is 14 years, therefore influx of 250 new buses is a huge improvement. Once the 250 new vehicles will be in service, more than 60 percent of the bus fleet shall be new. The replacement of the buses will be done step by step. The first 60 new vehicles we expect to start running in the streets of Vilnius city by the end of this year.
New buses will be comfortable and modern and will meet all needs of Vilnius citizens. All vehicles are equipped with wireless internet, outlets, air-conditioning and wheelchair ramps making them easy accessible passengers with impaired mobility. Buses not only will be modern, it also will be one of the main elements of Vilnius city design as every bus will be red, which is city’s brand color. The vehicles will increase the quality and comfort of travelling significantly and hopefully attract more car users to switch to public transport.
For more information: Mrs Gintare Krusinskaite