GB No. 2(17)/95
Motorways are being planned in Poland. The fact is widely known and some people have started to protest against them.
An alternative to car transport is railway which is more environmentally friendly. This is another well-known fact. As the application of rail transport decreases (recently even coal is carried in trucks) at the beginning of 1995 one third of local railways is planned to be closed down and, consequently,10.000 people will be made redundant. This can be called the end of Polish rail transport. In 1995 we will have no other possibilities than using a private car. The Polish Railway, as a monopolist, prefers sacking several thousand people and making a profit from intercity and express trains. The truth is that railway is a cheaper means of transport than cars. The prevailing opinion that railway makes no profit and it has to be subsidised from the state treasury is false. Do the drivers pay for the roads? They pay a road tax which is tiny in comparison to the actual maintenance costs. Therefore, why do the authorities promote the idea of the self-maintaining railway? I do not favour state subsidies in general but this is a special case.
Another problem is the monopoly of the Polish Railway. Provided favourable economic conditions are created, its monopoly could be broken through purchasing or leasing the local railways being shut down at present. If they become a private company they will have to seek profit.
It is another solution worth fighting for. I hope that people dealing with anti-motorway protests will consider the idea.
reprinted from Zielone Brygady 1/95