Estonia's local bus lines may start crossing into Latvia from autumn

Latvian border marker.
Latvian border marker. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

Plans to extend country bus lines over Estonia's southern border and into Latvia this autumn are likely to be given the go-ahead and €300,000 has been allocated to the project.

For the last three years, public transport centers in Parnu, Valga, and Viljandi counties and the South-East Estonia Public Transport Center have been discussing how to make lives easier for people living in the border regions whose nearest town is in Latvia.

The Estonian-Latvian cooperation program Interreg gave a joint Estonain-Latvian proposal €300,000 of funding towards the project. The organizations also need to find €75,000 themselves.

"The first step in the implementation of this project is the development of a cross-border public transport strategy and action plan in cooperation with the Latvian side. Then, on a trial basis, opening the bus routes in order to find out the demand, the availability, the timetables, and which settlements could be covered by this bus service," said Pärnu County Public Transport Center manager Andrus Kärpuk.

He said it is not usual for public transport centers operating under national laws to start organizing cross-border bus connections. Authorization is being sought from the Ministry of Climate and the Ministry of Regional Affairs.

Minister of Regional Affairs Madis Kallas (SDE) said he supports the idea.

"I very much applaud such endeavors. Where there is demand, it is good if we can create supply. At the moment, cross-border cooperation, both locally and, indeed, nationally, is certainly important. In any case, there is support from our ministry and we have already communicated on this issue," he said.

Maris Blaunieks, deputy head of Latvia's Limbaž municipality, told "Aktuaalne kaamera" in Feburary that the council was pleased to have been asked to participate. "This is very useful and we are in favor of making it happen," he said.


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Editor: Marko Tooming, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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