Reaching East: reforms at the railway have made it more difficult for Transcarpathians

Anastasia Lesyv, "Stary Zamok"  1 June 2012 09:54  40713659 014078
Reaching East: reforms at the railway have made it more difficult for Transcarpathians

Along with an intensified preparation for the Euro championship, May will be remembered by Ukrainians for one more loud event: Ukrzaliznytsia (Ukrainian Railway) has revolutionized the transport system by introducing new trains, canceling old ones and in addition - changing the timetable. From now on travelling by train will be harder, less convenient and more expensive.

European comfort with Asian flavor

Despite an extremely favorable geographical position of our region, close to European countries, Transcarpathians has always found it harder to get to the rest of Ukraine: 16 hours to the capital, more than a day to Kharkov, and about two days to the warm and sunny Crimea. Now, due to optimization of trains, it hasn’t become faster... However, ticket prices have gone up, the number of changes has increased and some trains disappeared. On May 27 to replace the traditional sleeping cars, Ukrzaliznytsia launched new high-speed trains with seats of Intercity type of Korean production. And on the same day a new timetable was introduced, according to which out of 22 trains running to Uzhgorod and back only 14 will remain.

According to experts, trains connecting the regional center of Transcarpathia with Kharkiv, Chernivtsi and Zhmerynka turned out to be unprofitable. Therefore, Uzhgorod ended up having connection only with Lviv, Kiev, Odessa and Moscow. Towed and non-stop carriages, connecting Uzhgorod with Kupyansk and Simferopol have been canceled too. However, Ukrzaliznytsia promises to introduce a few more trains for the period of the most vibrant influx of passengers in mass directions, particularly during the summer.

And now, at the time when a new timetable is coming into effect, there is still no information in the new timetable about how Transcarpathians will be able to travel to Simferopol or Kharkiv and which station one needs to get in order to comfortably, without wasting time continue their journey. The press service of Lviv Railway explains this by saying that although the updated model has been created, they do not know how to realize it yet. Everything will allegedly be agreed on May 27, after they launch inter-regional electric trains of production Hyundai Rotem. By the way, they will only serve the Ukrainian "capital" of Euro -2012 for more convenience of fans, so the timetable will be adjusted, but already in 5 years, as officials forecast, new trains will run in Ukraine.

But while the "Koreans" do not run on our railways, passengers can check out the new prices, regulation of which is not completely clear: the cost of travel will vary depending on the purchase of the ticket in both directions on certain calendar days and days of the week. It will be more expensive to travel on Friday and Sunday, cheaper – on Thursday and Saturday. As reported on the official website of the Ukrainian Railways, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays the fare on trains Hyundai is as follows: Kiev-Kharkov - 422.91 UAH for the first class ticket and 275.66 UAH - for the second, Kyiv-Lviv - 474, 89 UAH for the first class and 307.45 UAH - for the second. It is planned that the train Hyundai will deliver passengers from Kiev to Kharkov (488 km) in just 4 hours and 25 minutes (compare with 5 hours 40 minutes), from Lviv to Kiev (572 km) – for 4 hours and 55 minutes, and from Kiev to Donetsk (747 km) -for 6 hours and 30 minutes (now it is 11.5 hours).

"Koreans" cannot cope with Transcarpathian rails

However, no significant changes have occurred on the routes leading to Transcarpathia, and ultra new trains simply cannot reach here because of sinuosity of track. Reforming for our region has only brought reduction of travel duration, which, according to the new timetable, on average will last maximum of one hour in all directions!

For example, Odessa train departing from Uzhgorod at 6.15 p.m., used to be on the road 19 hours and 18 minutes, beginning from May 27, a journey time will be reduced to (!) 18 hours and 39 minutes. In addition, for this half an hour the ticket price will rise too - from 189.92 to 208.30 UAH. Nothing changes about the train Lviv-Solotvyno, except for the price. Only instead of 68.68 UAH passengers from Uzhgorod will pay 73.54 UAH.

The only thing they will change is that Transcarpathians will find it even more difficult to travel on long distances around Ukraine: firstly, it will cost a lot, and secondly, it will cause many inconveniences, primarily due to changes at stations.

And that's not all...

The experimental timetable will work from May 27 until September 1. After this some corrections will possibly be made in it. And later, from November 1, Ukrzaliznytsia is planning to introduce automated control of ticket sales, depending on train places availability. This means that realization of seats will be implemented starting with one car of each type. Tickets for the next car of the same type of comfort will be sold only when at least nine seats are left in the previous car. Unused train carriages are planned to be detached and attached to the trains with increased demand.

But unfortunately at the same time, a lot of users of Ukrzaliznytsia services, in particular, students will be deprived of the opportunity to travel by the expensive Hyundai trains, since discount tickets, according to preliminary information, are not provided.

In short, travelling by railway is becoming a pipe dream for many Ukrainians...

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