Rīga seeks solutions to promote public transport use

Traffic problems that would be addressed by parking lots at public transport hubs or the “park & ride” system are still topical for Rīga, but the solution could be found outside the city, the Rīga City Council's Vice Mayor for Transport Infrastructure Vilnis Ķirsis (New Unity) said in an interview on Latvian Television on October 14.

Although the Rīga City Council continues to work on building and improving the cycling infrastructure, greater emphasis should be placed on public transport in addressing urban traffic issues, said Ķirsis.

“Rīga is not just Rīga – approximately 100,000 cars enter Rīga every day in the mornings, leaving in the evening. I don't think we can put the people of Olaine, Jelgava, or Sigulda on the bicycle,” said the vice mayor.

It is therefore necessary to think about the accessibility of public transport, including making it easy to switch to the train system and to have a single ticket in the city. This has been debated for years, but the principle of “park & ride” which allows drivers to park near transport hubs and use public transport in the city, has still not been implemented.

Ķirsis said that such park & ride sites should not be located in the city itself but at the Rīga border. In that case, they should be created by the municipalities of Rīga vicinity.

“The problem is in Rīga, but the solution is outside Rīga,” said Ķirsis.

At the same time, he hopes that the “park & ride” principle could be implemented by the passenger train systems.  In order to encourage residents to make more use of public transport in Rīga, the City Council plans to come up with a new public transport monthly price policy.

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