On Thursday 2nd December, the Border Focal Point Network organised the fifth episode of the “Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debates” series. This edition focused on cross-border public transport services, specifically discussing the European Commission’s soon-to-be published “Study on public transport in cross-border regions: Mapping of existing services and related legal obstacles”.
This episode started with a discussion on the study and its inventory of current services, catalogue of cross-border obstacles, 31 case studies, and toolbox for cross-border public transport planners and implementers. The co-authors of the study also described how to use a new web-viewer, which contains a wealth of information on cross-border public transport services across Europe (www.crossbordertransport.eu).
This was followed by the presentation of one of the case studies, namely the Berlin-Kostrzyn nad Odrą train connection service (between Germany and Poland), which described how good collaboration between train operators on both sides of the border can improve cross-border rail services, increase earnings for operators and make them more user-friendly for customers, through for example single online ticketing.
A fruitful panel discussion then covered questions such as the importance of good communication and collaboration between authorities at different levels as a tool to overcome the obstacles that these services face, and overcoming some peoples’ hesitancy about crossing borders. The panel recognised that cross-border public transport services fall under public service obligations even when there is low density and limited demand. Another issue that was raised concerned possible ways to support services that may not be profitable, such as changes to regulatory and governance frameworks that facilitate services making their own arrangements, rather than being hampered by national constraints. Representatives from Interreg, the International Association of Public Transport and ECGT Euro métropole Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai (France-Belgium) all offered insights on the above topics, as well as emphasising the utility of this study, and the importance of cross-border public transport services in achieving integration in the border regions and beyond.
If you could not join us for this event or if you would like to watch it again, the recording is available here:
More information on the topic and useful websites:
- The webviewer: Cross-border public transport (CBPT) services (europa.eu)
The 'Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debates' series has been designed to highlight ways in which cross-border regions can be supported in tackling specific problems, building on their many assets. The debates will provide the opportunity for stakeholders and policy experts to convene and discuss the continued challenges and obstacles to cross-border cooperation.