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Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek said on Friday she was working on the idea to connect Maribor and Ljubljana with express trains, a demand presented by a civil initiative earlier this week. Bratušek said she would push for connecting several European cities with fast trains to be one of Slovenia's priorities during the EU presidency.
"I believe Slovenia should be the initiator of express trains between Vienna, Ljubljana and Venice, and the first fast connection we need to introduce would be between Ljubljana and Maribor, two biggest Slovenian cities," the minister said.
The Infrastructure Ministry said it was working on a transport policy that is in line with the demands of the group of academics commuting from Maribor to Ljubljana on a daily basis who started the campaign for better transport connection between the two cities on Monday.
The initiative would like to cut the commuting time between the two cities to 50 minutes, while the train ride currently takes from two to three hours.
The head of the initiative, Mateja Ratej, noted that the Maribor-Ljubljana motorway, being a part of the transport corridor between eastern and western Europe, was heavily burdened, especially during holidays and in the summer.
"Traffic accidents are becoming increasingly frequent, causing tailbacks of several kilometres, which extend the 133-kilometre journey to several hours," she said.
The ministry said today it had already introduced a single integrated pass for public transport and additional fast routes. "We are modernising the existing and building new railway connections to have more cargo transported on rail and make the connections between cities faster, more cost-efficient, and more environment- and user-friendly."
According to the ministry, a task force will be set up to look into the possibilities for express trains between Ljubljana and Maribor and other cities, and estimate the costs of such a project.
The 50 Minutes Between Maribor and Ljubljana initiative was backed by the Maribor municipality and the List of Cyclists and Pedestrians.
"The situation has been causing discontent for a while and things get much worse in the summer months," Ratej said, calling for an action plan before the end of the year.
The initiative is now collecting signatures for its petition.
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This article first appeared on www.total-slovenia-news.com
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