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HomeEstoniaCounty bus routes to be extended to Latvia next summer: Valga-Valka, Viljandi-Valmiera,...

County bus routes to be extended to Latvia next summer: Valga-Valka, Viljandi-Valmiera, Voru-Aluksne etc.

The bus routes of several Estonian counties will be extended to Latvia next summer — people living near the border would then have the prospect of running their daily errands in centers on the other side of the border, the regional Parnu Postimees writes.

The border area of Estonia and Latvia used to have a busy bus service, which was interrupted in the early 1990s due to the introduction of border control. However, the need for such connections is still there, because the residents of the border areas are connected to each other by family, lifestyle and economic ties.

With the development of the European Union and the planned mobility reform, the time is ripe for changes. On Sunday, the State Shared Service Center signed an agreement with partners on the ROCC project, or “Restoration of Cross-border Bus Routes”, which is financed by the Interreg Estonia-Latvia program for the years 2021-2027.

The broader goal of the initiative is to reduce the marginalization of the border area, encourage the use of public transport and its accessibility. The immediate goal is to create an action plan for the organization of cross-border public bus routes and sustainable organizational models at the level of national and local governments.

The Valga-Valka, Viljandi-Valmiera, Voru-Aluksne, Kilingi-Nomme-Valmiera and Parnu-Ikla-Salacgriva bus routes will be opened on a trial basis next summer. On the basis of practical experience and passenger feedback, further timetables will be developed to meet the demand.

The first working meeting of the project partners took place on Nov. 29 in Cesis, Latvia. According to Andrus Karpuk, head of the Parnu County Public Transport Center, participants got an overview of each other’s responsibilities and activities and agreed on specific works in the near future.

“At the meeting, which lasted over three hours, it was confirmed that relations and cooperation between neighbors are valuable and must be developed,” Karpuk said.

The two-year project will cost up to 375,000 euros, of which 80 percent is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

The partners include all the public transport centers along the southern border of Estonia: the Southeast Public Transport Center, the Valga County Public Transport Center, the Viljandi County Public Transport Center and, as the lead partner, the Parnu County Public Transport Center, while the Vidzeme planning region covers the entire northern border of Latvia. The Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture, the Ministry of Climate and the Latvian Transport Board are also involved in the project.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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