Revitalising Public Transport in Chisinau (Moldova) Through East-West Co- Operation
BROWN A D, Hampshire County Council, UK
The European Commission's Technical Assistance for the Cities of the Independent States (TACIS) City Twinning Programme funds a broad range of projects to promote co-operation and partnership between local and regional authorities of the European Union (E
The European Commission's Technical Assistance for the Cities of the Independent States (TACIS) City Twinning Programme funds a broad range of projects to promote co-operation and partnership between local and regional authorities of the European Union (EU) and the New Independent States (NIS) ~ of the former Soviet Union. Through training and familiarisation the programme allows for the transfer of knowledge and skills from ELI to NIS partners to assist effective local administration within the N-IS. As part of this TACIS programme a one year project to evaluate public transport in Chisinau, the capital of Motdova, commenced in February 1997 involving
* Hampshire County Council
* Chisinau Municipality
* Chisinau Public Transport Company
* Southern Vectis Bus Company
Moldova is a predominantly rural republic in south eastern Europe near to the northern shores of the Black Sea, but land locked by the Ukraine and Romania. With a population approaching 4.4 million and a total area of 33,700 square km, Moldova is the most densely populated of the NIS. Since gaining its independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991, Moldova has set about establishing a democratic political system and the transition from a command to a market based economy. Chisinau as the capital and largest city inevitably acts as the focus for this change and is at the centre of national life in many other ways including being the main transport hub for road, rail and air travel.
The county of Hampshire covers an area of 2,341 square km in southern England. Hampshire County Council represents a population of 1.2 million in a mix of urban and rural communities. Its proximity to London and major ports such as Portsmouth and Southampton, requires a well developed road and railway network. Increasing congestion on primary routes and in urban centres has led to the development of positive public transport policies to provide an alternative to the private ear. A member of the Assembly of European Regions, the County Council also recognises the importance of developing European partnerships and links. In Eastern Europe links have been established with Moscow Region (Russia), Hunedoara (Romania), and Nograd (Hungary). In 1996 following contacts and exchange visits between leading elected members of the County Council and Chisinau Municipality a co- operation agreement was signed by the two authorities. The TACIS Programme then offered an opportunity to establish more formal co-operation on a practical level.
Public transport was readily identified as a field for co-operation recognisiug the decline of public transport and the growth of car use in Chisinau and Hampshire's broad expertise in developing public transport strategy and systems. The County Council had also demonstrated its ability to work with European partners in the transport field with active participation in EU initiatives such as the ROMANSE, ENTRANCE and ENTIRE projects and the POLIS network organisation 2
A bid to the TACIS Programme in late 1996 secured ELI fimding 3 for the project and the Southern Vectis Bus Company was appointed as the lead technical partner to the project. Southern Vectis is a well established bus operator based in southern England. Of significance, for project purposes, was its direct experiences of Eastern European public transport operations including part ownership and management of the Kalisz Bus Company in Poland.
Association for European Transport