Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Croatian Ferry and Bus Prices Increase as Summer Season Hits

June the 21st, 2022 - Croatian ferry and bus line prices are set to significantly increase as inflation continues to bite and the cost of fuel keeps on increasing. Croatian ferry and bus line operators have asked customers for their understanding, and their forgiveness during a time which is proving difficult for all pockets.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a lot of people from Zadar like to joke about swimming across to Ugljan instead of paying for the ferry, but all jokes aside, transportation on a Croatian ferry to the Adriatic islands this summer will cost thirty percent more than it did last year.

"I think it's a really great price (speaking sarcastically) and we'll end up al going bankrupt, but for as long as it's like that, it's going to be like that. You only live once,'' said Pavao from Zagreb.

Many passengers, however, are now thinking twice about whether they can go on day trips to nearby islands at all with prices for a Croatian ferry ticket being so high. Shipowners themselves are also in troubled waters, no pun intended. The catamaran that sailed on the line between Split - Bol - Makarska - Korcula - Mljet - Dubrovnik will not sail at all this season. The reason is cited as excessive costs, writes Dnevnik.hr.

The private shipowner has issued an apology to all would-have-been passengers, offering a refund for any tickets already purchased. Unlike commercial lines, public service lines are co-financed for the year with more than 320 million kuna from the state treasury. Nevertheless, in order to sail, part of the burden is paid by customers.

"Of course, shipowners can't incur losses even though they have contracts, they must be at a certain zero both according to the law and the regulations of the European Commission, including the real profit in doing their job," explained Paula Vidovic.

They added that prices have not changed in the last twenty years, and in the last few months, the increase has been felt by bus transport companies as well.

For the Zadar - Vodice or Vodice - Zadar section, tickets were purchased a few days ago, and the difference in price is 15 kuna. The global coronavirus pandemic has thinned bus lines out totally, and fuel prices dictate ticket prices, which depend on both the carrier and the cost-effectiveness of the line. The unprofitability of local lines has plagued these companies for years, and rising fuel prices, they say, have only added fuel to an already fairly out of control fire.

"Certainly with this announcement of an additional increase in fuel prices on Tuesday, we can expect additional corrections to the price of our services," concluded Vedran Tomicic from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

They see the solution either in subsidising all local lines or by introducing monthly tickets at the state level, following the example of some other European countries, in order to save public line transport, but also to stop the prices going wild.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Sunday, 12 June 2022

Could Croatian Bus Companies Introduce Smarter "German Model"?

June the 12th, 2022 - Could struggling Croatian bus companies, who have had very little help from the state and have been in troubled waters ever since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic at the start of 2020 introduce the so-called German model? It seems the will is there.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, ever since June the 1st this year, the German Government has been testing out a special model in which it has decided to stimulate public transport use and has offered a ticket of 9 euros per month for the use of both buses and trains. The reaction of the German people was rather unsurprisingly fantastic and the tickets quickly sold out.

Public transport is the only real alternative to travel during these times in which we've seen such drastically rising fuel prices, and the examples of Germany and even neighbouring Slovenia show how this can actually work excellently.

The German Government's idea for bus transport pricing through the aforementioned special model saw tickets sell out rapidly because for 27 euros, people can literally use these services as much as they want. If a bus ticket is bought in Hamburg, for example, it can be used without any problems in Berlin or any other German city, it can also be used on some of Germany's DB intercity trains.

"Public transport is the only alternative to travel for many people with such high fuel prices and this is being widely recognised by European countries. We hope that the example of Germany will show the way this should be handled to the Croatian Government and the relevant ministry in order to help people out, because this is the only real solution,'' said Hrvoje Mestrovic, president of the Coordination of Public Liner Carriers at the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP).

Croatian bus companies have, as has been mentioned, been dealing with an extremely unfavourable economic situation for a very long time now, with little to no attention having been paid by the state, in their opinion. Trying to balance business and preserve thousands of jobs continues to be a huge burden. Mestrovic pointed out that the state also has a clear benefit from introducing such a plan for Croatian bus companies because the money will be returned to the state treasury for a large amount of the tickets sold, which we have witnessed in both Slovenia and Germany.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 31 March 2022

New Public Services for Zagreb County Bus Transport Presented

March the 31st, 2022 - A set of brand new public services for Zagreb County bus transport have been presented, with the actual needs of the wider county's inhabitants properly taken into account when it comes to public transport.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, along with the representatives of Zagreb County, the Municipality of Kravarsko and the Coordination of Internal Public Regular Road Passenger Transport at the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), some new public services for Zagreb County bus transport was presented.

It is a model that enables the introduction of new and the renewal of some old bus lines with the aim of providing better transport connections and ensuring more mobility of the local population. Despite the secured budget funds of the state, Zagreb County is the first county in Croatia to provide its resident population with a larger number of lines and departures and ensure the better connectivity of more rural areas. According to the representatives of the local community, as well as the bus carriers themselves, this model is crucial for the survival of smaller rural areas that are threatened by an ongoing demographic catastrophe. Kravarsko is, as they point out, an example of how public transport can offer momentum and provide a spring in the step for a population that faced a devastating earthquake two years ago.

The mayor of Kravarsko, Vlado Kolarec, stated that residents of the area over which he governs have been using the new services of the Zagreb County bus transport offer for three months now.

"The public bus transport service is necessary for the long-term perspective of our municipality. Our locals are better connected, they're mobile, they can stay in their homes where they grew up. I'm glad to see the positive changes that public transport has brought with it,'' said the Mayor, praising the cooperation with the county and local bus carriers who showed unwavering readiness to help during the height of the coronavirus crisis.

A new Zagreb County bus transport timetable which meets the real needs of the local population

In Kravarsko, the population uses Autoturist buses from Samobor, whose procurator is Franjo Grguric: "Locals rely heavily on our buses because there's been no alternative transport for them to use. Several times, after the announcement of the abolition of certain lines, we received desperate calls from people who quite simply could no longer go to work or provide education for their kids. We want to continue to unite Croatia, so thank you to Zagreb County for recognising this need. I hope that others will follow that example."

"Better and more accessible public transport services, especially in rural areas, is the reason why we were the first in Croatia to sign almost 90 million kuna worth of two-year contracts with our bus carriers," said Zagreb County Deputy Prefect Damir Tomljenovic, who added that their lines are constantly growing and that the Zagreb County bus transport system's timetable will continue to be adjusted to meet the real needs of the population.

All of the legal preconditions have been provided for the implementation of this public service model in Croatia, as have the necessary financial resources - 428 million kuna per year from the state budget. It is a model that operates very well across almost all EU countries and systematically solves the problem of both bus carriers and people.

Hrvoje Mestrovic, President of HUP-Coordination of Public Line Passenger Transport, pointed out that bus carriers continue to be in a crisis situation, and rising fuel prices, inflation and the pandemic are endangering the work of the transport sector as a whole. This public service model, Mestrovic explained, therefore helps the local population, but also the bus carriers themselves, to continue performing activities which are of wider social interest.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 3 January 2022

Ministry Supports Free Long-Distance Public Transport for the Elderly

January 3, 2022 - An agreement has been reached between the Croatian Party of Pensioners and the Ministry of Transport on the idea of offering free long-distance public transport for the elderly in the country, especially important for pensioners from rural areas who have to travel for medical examinations or groceries.

The Croatian Party of Pensioners and the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure have agreed on the idea that the elderly should receive free long-distance public transport, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

The Croatian Party of Pensioners (HSU) has launched an initiative to provide free intercity transport for pensioners and the elderly.

This is especially important for pensioners from rural areas of Croatia who have to travel to larger places for medical examinations or groceries, which requires significant financial allocations from their modest incomes. They sent a letter to the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure and it seems they have agreed.

"The Ministry fully supports the activities of the HSU aimed at improving the status and living conditions of pensioners in Croatia," the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure replied.

Regarding the specific proposal, the Ministry said that the reorganization of the entire system of public transport of passengers is underway. The Ministry said that the Government had provided 428 thousand kuna a year from the state budget to co-finance transport as a public service.

''We believe that the county, together with local governments, with financial resources in an appropriate manner to enable the improvement of services for the elderly, pensioners, and other vulnerable groups of citizens with more favorable financial conditions'', said the Croatian Party of Pensioners Minister Oleg Butković, according to Mirovina.

The HSU says that they have hired all party officials on the ground to continue working in their counties on the implementation of this initiative.

 To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Agreement for Procurement of 18 Buses Signed in Dubrovnik

ZAGREB, 22 Nov 2021 - An agreement was signed in Dubrovnik on Monday for the procurement of 18 new buses for Dubrovnik's public transportation bus company, worth almost HRK 38.7 million (€5.16 million) of which 85% will be provided by the European Union.

The Libertas bus company will, thus, renew its fleet with two articulated low-floor buses, six mini low-floor buses, seven mini urban-suburban buses, and three midi suburban buses. As many old buses will be taken off the roads.

Mayor Mato Franković announced that traffic around the historical old town will soon be restricted to vehicles of local residents and public transport.

"I believe that visitors to the city will choose Libertas as the simplest and easiest form of transport to the historical old town," said Franković.

The bus company's director, Franko Mekišić, said citizens will directly feel the benefit of the procurement because the buses meet the newest standards and ecological norms.

"This will reduce the overall age of vehicles from 12 to 9 years. We currently have 110 vehicles, 80 of which are in use. We are intensively working on absorbing certain EU funds in the coming period to procure more buses," said Mekišić.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 12 November 2021

Makarska Introduces Free Public Transport for Its Citizens

November 12, 2021 - Good news for the inhabitants of the Dalmatian town, as Makarska introduces free public transport towards the end of the year. Here are the routes.

Organized by the City of Makarska, free public transport has started on the route Veliko Brdo - Makarska - Veliko Brdo as a pilot project, reports Slobodna Dalmacija. The test period will last until the end of the year and refers to the connections of the most remote local board with the city. Makarska Mayor Zoran Paunović was also on the first run.

In this test period, transportation is free for all citizens who have a permanent or temporary residence in the area of ​​the city of Makarska, which passengers will prove with an ID card or appropriate certificate. The carrier will issue them a monthly travel ticket on the spot on the bus.

makarska-introduces-free-public-transport_2.jpg

Departures from Veliko Brdo to Makarska are at 7.30 am, 8.33, 9.33, 10.33, 12, 13.30, 14.50, 16.50 and 19.20. Departures from Makarska to Veliko Brdo are at 8.25, 9.25, 10.25, 11.30, 13.20, 16.15, 18.15, 19.05 and 20. 27 hours.

Boarding and disembarking of passengers on the route Veliko Brdo - Makarska - Veliko Brdo is performed at three bus stops in the area of ​​Veliko Brdo, bus stop near Napoleon's monument, near the store "Tommy" in Ante Starčević Street, at the beginning and end of the city waterfront, below the bus station, the end of the roundabout next to the high schools and the end of the town market and the Music School.

The City of Makarska has concluded a contract on co-financing the line at the initiative of the Family Bus Service carrier, which, according to the publicly available register, is the only one with registered lines and issued county licenses for county public regular passenger transport between Veliko Brdo and Makarska.
This pilot project is a step closer to the organization of public transport and an opportunity for the City of Makarska to know first hand the real traffic demand and the justification for the introduction of public transport in Makarska.

Are you planning to visit Makarska? Take a look at the Total Croatia 2021 guide, where you will find all the information about accommodation, restaurants, things to do, tours, how to get to the riviera, and much more HERE. Now available in your language!

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Associations Request Urgent Meeting With PM Andrej Plenković on Regular Public Transport

ZAGREB, 2 June, 2021 - The Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) and the SSSH trade union federation have asked Prime Minister Andrej Plenković for an urgent meeting on the regulation of regular public transport, stressing that if the meeting is not held, they "will be forced to take certain joint activities".

The answer and the date of the urgent meeting are expected by Friday, 4 June, at the latest, the associations said in a letter to the prime minister.

Employers and unionists say they have been "more than active" in proposing solutions and "more than patient" over the last three years, waiting for the final implementation of European and national regulations.

The HUP and the SSSH warn that the already ready legal solutions that were a prerequisite for signing contracts for regular public passenger transport on county and inter-county lines up to 100 kilometres are not implemented due to the inactivity of state administration bodies.

They also said that the decision had not yet been made on the distribution of funds from the state budget to counties, even though the funds, according to the SSSH and the HUP, had already been secured, and that public service contracts between counties and private transport companies involved in regular public passenger transport had not been signed yet.

"Private bus carriers from the HUP transport association account for 80% of the public transport on county and inter-county lines up to 100 kilometres and employ over 7,000 workers who are directly affected by such irresponsible behaviour of the relevant ministries," the HUP said.

Without a public service contract, the process of collective bargaining to improve working conditions in the transport sector is at a standstill and existing jobs are in jeopardy, they noted.

The operation of most public bus lines is at risk, especially in rural areas, and workers and private public transport providers haven't been able to plan their business and their companies' prospects for three years now, the HUP and the SSSH warned.

The HUP and the SSSH think that the government should make a decision on the distribution of funds from the state budget to counties (signatories of contracts with transport companies) at its next session.

They added that it was also necessary to stop discrimination against private bus carriers and their workers in relation to carriers owned by the public sector since private companies still didn't have public service contracts, while public companies did, for the same service.

They also think that it is necessary to continue with the job-retention subsidies for all companies that continue to register a decline in business and meet the prescribed criteria.

That is especially important, they said, for passenger transport on lines in rural areas, where the number of passengers is declining sharply, also because of the end of the school year and the holidays, and cannot be sustained without state support.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Osijek to Get Underpass, 13 Buses in Bid to Improve Public Transport System

ZAGREB, 21 May 2021 - Agreements on EU-funded grants for the construction of an underpass and for the procurement of 13 new buses for public transportation system in Osijek were signed on Friday in that eastern Croatian city.

In attendance at the ceremony was Prime Minister Andrej Plenković who said that the 93-million-kuna underpass in S. Leopolda Bogdana Mandića Street would reduce traffic jams in that part of the city.As high as 85% of this investment will be covered by the European Union's funds while the remaining 15% will be covered by the state budget.

Also, 32 million kuna will be set aside for the procurement of 13 new buses for public transportation. The 85% of the amount is also covered by funds from the EU.

All these projects are part of our policy which we have been pursuing since 2016 as part of the "Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem" project, and we have contracted 17.7 billion kuna under that programme, Plenković said.

The outgoing mayor Ivan Vrkić said that during his two mayoral terms, HRK 1.6 billion had been invested in Osijek since Croatia joined the European Union.

(€1 = HRK 7.508080)

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 7 May 2021

No ZET Trams in Novi Zagreb Over Weekend as Works Continue

May the 7th, 2021 - There will be no ZET trams running in Novi Zagreb over the weekends from the 8th until the 30th of May due to continuing works. A new bus line will be introduced to make up for the temporarily suspended tram services.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, due to the continuation of works on the renovation of Zagreb's famous Most Mladosti (Youth Bridge), traffic in the form of ZET trams in Novi Zagreb will be suspended on weekends (meaning more precisely on Saturdays and Sundays) from May the 8th to May the 30th, and a new bus line (607) will be introduced to make up for the missing trams which would usually be running as normal along those routes, ZET reported on its website on Thursday.

This new bus line will run along the following route: Savski most (Sava bridge) - Avenija Dubrovnik (Dubrovnik Avenue) - Drziceva (Marin Drzic Avenue) - Ulica grada Vukovara (Vukovar street).

The bus will turn in a semicircle at the intersection of Drziceva and Ulica grada Vukovara, and the entry-exit stop will be in Drziceva (near Diona) they have stated from ZET.

During the works on Most Mladosti, ZET trams, more precisely the lines 6, 7 and 14 will operate along the changed routes.

Line 6: Crnomerec - Trg bana Josipa Jelacica (Ban Jelacic square) - Glavni kolodvor (Main train station) - Autobusni kolodvor (Bus station) - Heinzelova - Zitnjak.

Line 7: Dubec - Autobusni kolodvor (Bus station) - Ulica grada Vukovara (Vukovar street) - Savski most (Sava bridge).

Line 14: Mihaljevac - Trg bana Josipa Jelacica (Ban Jelacic square) - Frankopanska (Frankopan street) - Savska cesta (Sava road) - Savski most (Sava bridge).

Instead of the tram of the night line 31, a bus will be introduced, reported ZET, which has also asked and thanked people in advanced for their understanding as the Most Mladosti works continue throughout the month of May.

For all you need to know about Zagreb in 2021, make sure to bookmark Total Croatia's Zagreb in a Page and choose your preferred language.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Kvarner Goes Green: Opatija and Rijeka Integrated Rail and Bus

January 7, 2021 – From the Bay of Bakar through the beaches of Rijeka to the opulence of Opatija and up, all the way to the border with Slovenia, Kvarner residents and visitors will be able to travel with just one ticket across the whole of the Rijeka integrated rail and bus network

An existing co-operation between rail and bus operators in Kvarner was today extended, allowing the Rijeka Integrated Rail and Bus network to continue for at least another year. This holds exciting implications for travel in the region for years to come.

Planned changes to the infrastructure of the coastal part of the north Kvarner Bay mean that within the Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme, you will soon be able to travel from the Bay of Bakar, stop off at a series of Rijeka beaches, hop back on public transport to go to Opatija and even travel beyond the coast, all the way to the border with Slovenia, using just one ticket. Passengers will not be limited in their choice to travel by either aril or bus.

Autotrolej.jpg
An Autotrolej bus, longtime providers of local bus services in Rijeka © Grad Rijeka

The Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme, organised through Kvarner County, Rijeka, Matulji and Bakar Town Halls, rail and local bus operators is an eco-friendly drive that seeks to encourage people to leave their cars at home and instead choose public transport. However, access to the Rijeka integrated rail and bus network is not limited to commuting workers and travelling students. Although the scheme is most cost-effective using a monthly ticket, day tickets are available for the network which may be of huge appeal to visitors wishing to explore a wider portion of Kvarner's northern coast.

damir_covic_1939.jpg
The train station of Opatija Matulji © Damir Covic 1939 / Matulji Tourist Board

Rijeka integrated rail and bus: International

What makes the extension of the Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme even more welcome is the planned overhaul of infrastructure that will accompany it.

Fifteen extra stations will be added (or reactivated) on the route between Kantrida in the west of Rijeka, along the Rijeka seafront and on to the outskirts of Bakar. Furthermore, the entire train line from Bakar to Šapjane will be brought into the Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme with the completion of a second train track along the route.

Šapjane_train_station_from_Regiojet_1047_Prague_to_Rijeka.jpgTrains along the line at Šapjane. Next stop Slovenia! © DiningCar_

Šapjane, in the municipality of Matulji, lies 20 kilometres inland, north of Opatija. It sits right on the border with Slovenia. The train line extends across this border, through the Slovenian town of Ilirska Bistrica, and then on to Postojna and Ljubljana, Italy or Austria. This means the Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme will be directly linked to another green, international travel network.

These routes will all be linked to the incoming, double-tracked Pan-European fast train network, which, as TCN highlighted last year, will connect this part of Kvarner with France, Spain and Portugal in the west all the way to eastern Hungary via Zagreb and Budapest. Needless to say, it will require more than a single day ticket (cvikalica) from the Rijeka integrated rail and bus network to make such a journey!

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