There’s been a lot of fuss these last days about the opening of 4 more stations of the Bucharest subway. Unfortunately, the 19-years long, 175 million euros project was just another leftover from the communist era. Will it help the development of the eastern part of the city? Sure, but it will also cause further crowding in the main exchange stations.
What Bucharest needs is a true intermodal transportation network. A first step was the made around 2003, with the opening of the passageway between the Crângaşi metro station and tramway station. There are also hopes for a “train to the plane” (the metro to Otopeni) and “automobiles on trains”. These are all important parts of a true intermodal transport network, but each development is made separately, without thinking about connections.
Add talked about “park and ride” on the newly opened line. What I want to talk about today is the other end of the future M3 line, the exit from Bucharest onto A1. Near Păcii station there is an old bus terminal, from which buses leave to many cities in Muntenia. As you can see from this article (in Romanian), the terminal itself is very clean and comfortable, but the area around it is in ruins and many bus companies prefer to avoid the tolls by using the streets in the zone for departures.
If the City Hall’s transportation department would be serious about intermodal transportation, it would take some measures for cleaning up the area. First of all, it should do daily sweeps with the police and get read of the bus companies leaving from other places. That would free up the traffic in the area, especially because that’s also the place where Iuliu Maniu Bvd. get from 4 lanes to only 2.
Then, it should build a direct passageway from the metro to the bus terminal. This would cut transfer time by 5 to 10 minutes and reducing the risks for the commuters (it’s an adventure to cross the boulevard now). Of course, the subterranean access should be accessible for the disabled.
The unused space of the terminal could be used for a parking. And for the parking ticket, you could get a 1 day ticket on RATB+subway – the classic “park and ride” scheme. And if there still is some leftover space, a small park would do wonders for the area.
Unfortunately, this is just wishful thinking from me. A passage costs much more than a street crossing and the terrain could be disputed by former owners. And most importantly, the politicians must decide that this project is not impeding on their little “affairs”.