Memorandum by Hampshire County Council
We are all aware of the environmental benefits
of public transport and the significant role it has to play in
promoting local sustainability. Therefore, despite rapidly increasing
car ownership and limited resources, the project partners believe
that the significant proportion of demand for mobility in Chisinau,
and indeed other NIS cities, can and shall continue to be met
by public transport provided that it is reformed and restructured.
To achieve these improvements the project allowed for training,
advice and information exchange, on a broad range of public transport
strategy and operational issues. The evidence presented in this
note reflects the final project report and where possible responds
to the request for further information for the Sub-Committee on
The project focused on how the demand for public
transport in Chisinau can be met efficiently and cost-effectively
against a backdrop of transition towards a market economy and
democratic political system. The primary objectives were an evaluation
existing passenger flows;
potential route, network and operational
requirements for additional public
traffic management measures to give
priority to public transport;
the feasibility of introducing new
modes of public transport including trams.
3. PROJECT STATUS
The project is now completed with a Final Report
scheduled for publication in May 1998. A conference is being planned
for July 1998 in Chisinau which will include the dissemination
of the project results to NIS Municipal and Public Transport Managers.
The project has also identified a number of objectives to be considered
for implementation in the longer term.
Hampshire County Council recognises the importance
of developing European partnerships and links. Its interest and
involvement in European affairs is demonstrated by its:
membership of the Assembly of European
Hampshire/Basse Normandie (France)
Hampshire/Bizkaia (Spain) Collaboration
links with Noord Brabant (Holland),
Moscow Region (Russia), Hunedoara (Romania) and Nograd (Hungary).
Given the new challenges facing the NIS in establishing
a democratic political system and their transition from a command
to a market economy, Hampshire recognised the necessity for promoting
co-operation between EU and NIS regions. Contacts and exchange
visits between leading elected members of Hampshire County Council
and Chisinau Municipality had occurred and the TACIS Programme
offered an opportunity to establish more formal co-operation.
Public transport had readily been identified
as a field for co-operation recognising the decline of public
transport and growth in car ownership in Chisinau and Hampshire's
broad expertise in this field including its active participation
in other EU initiatives such as SCOPE/EUROSCOPE, ROMANSE, ENTRANCE,
ENTIRE and the POLIS network organisation. It was also recognised
that the TACIS project would help promote broader links including
potential economic opportunities.
Funding for Hampshire County Councils transnational
partnerships have been generally been secured through direct European
Union project funding, although we are increasingly looking to
develop other sources of funding such as the UK Know How Fund,
World Bank and EBRD.
It was agreed by the partners to establish a
Project Plan detailing the issues to be evaluated. Managers and
specialists from the Municipality and the Chisinau Public Transport
Company were then to receive "hands on" training and
experience of public transport systems and techniques in Hampshire.
This was to involve detailed tuition, study visits, presentations
and meetings with public transport operators and specialists.
The project was to be reviewed periodically to ensure the objectives
were being addressed and that practical proposals could be established.
The training was to be designed to facilitate a transfer of knowledge
to the Chisinau partners enabling them to implement the project
recommendations thereby progressing the reform and restructuring
of public transport in Chisinau.
(1) March 1997First Hampshire Visit to
established working relationships;
allowed Hampshire managers to familiarise
themselves with public transport operations and systems;
extensive "fact finding";
partners identified the main issues
regarding public transport in Chisinau;
identified specific areas of training
(2) April/May 1997First Chisinau Visit
allowed for training in the following
operational costing including company
restructuring and income generation including fares systems and
surveys and demand monitoring systems;
route planning and scheduling;
establishing a contractual relationship
between the Municipality and the Public Transport Company;
traffic management and bus priority
planning and developing light rail/tram
study visits to bus companies in
Hampshire to give first-hand experience of UK public transport
investigation of bus priorities and
other public transport infrastructure;
identified short-term improvements
to public transport to be implemented in Chisinau.
(3) July 1997second Hampshire visit to
assessed progress with implementation
of short-term improvements;
further training on traffic management
and bus priorities including evaluation of actual sites in Chisinau;
detailed assessment of Concessionary
interim review of project.
(4) August 1997Publication of Interim Project
Report and Discussion Note regarding Concessionary Fares
(5) October 1997Hampshire visit to Moldovan
presentation of Interim Report and
meeting of partners with Government
representatives to discuss issue of Concessionary Fares in particular
and public transport in general.
(6) October 1997Partners Study visit to
Kalisz Bus Company, Poland
first-hand assessment of "westernised"
study of finance, scheduling, marketing
and management methods in view of UK interests/part ownership
(7) December 1997third Hampshire visit
allowed for further training
further evaluation of scope for introducing
light rail/tram system in Chisinau;
identified outstanding issues and
(8) February/March 1998second Chisinau
visit to Hampshire
allowed for further training;
study visits to modern tram systems
further study visits to bus companies;
final review of project to ensure
objectives had been met and assess scope for practical recommendations
and actions beyond project end.
(9) May 1998Publication of Final Project
Hampshire County CouncilCounty Surveyor's
The project was managed, and implemented by
the Head of Passenger Transport assisted by the group's middle
managers. Other managers and transport specialists from within
the County Surveyor's Department assisted with specific aspects
of the project including training activities. The project was
carried out in consultation with the Deputy County Surveyor and
at elected member level with the Chairman of Planning and Transportation
Committee and the Chairman of the Public Transport Sub-Committee.
Chisinau Municipality and Chisinau Public Transport
A range of senior and middle managers from both
the Municipality and the Public Transport Company were involved
in the project and received training including the Vice Mayor
of Chisinau and the Director of the Public Transport Company.
This commitment at a senior level ensured that project targets
were met within the NISA partner organisations, despite the institutional
inertia that can sometimes frustrate progress in the former Soviet
Southern Vectis Bus Company
A consultant with experience of East European
public transport operations form Southern Vectis was employed
as a technical partner to the project. The working relationship
between project partners and consultant were developed over the
life of the project, with strong client management ensuring good
value for money.
The project was co-ordinated by Hampshire's
Passenger Transport Group, the Chisinau Municipality Director
of International Relations and a project adviser in Chisinau.
Actions were approved by Hampshire's Deputy County Surveyor and
in Chisinau by the Vice Mayor and Director of the Public Transport
TACIS Programme Co-ordination
The project partners main contact with the European
Union was through the TACIS Secretariat in Brussels and its technical
assistance team in Paris. The guidance given was thorough and
deadlines were observed. Receipt of co-financing was dependent
on the submission of accounts and reports but was generally well
managed. The greatest difficulty was changing details of the project
plan, as the objectives of the project altered over the project
The NIS partners in Chisinau had limited assistance
but strong support from the local TACIS office in Moldova.
6.4 FINANCING AND
The project budget was 121,005 ECU co-financed
by the EU TACIS City Twinning Programme (96804 ECU80 per
cent) and Hampshire County Council (24201 ECU20 per cent).
The budget covered the project costs relating to:
staff time for EU and NIS participants;
payments to the technical partner;
project management and administration
travel fares, accommodation and subsistence
for participants during the exchange and training visits;
purchase of equipment for Chisinau
translation and interpretation;
production of project reports;
attendance at TACIS conferences and
7. RESULTS AND
The project has enabled a full evaluation of
public transport in Chisinau and a successful programme of training
on a series of strategic and operational issues. Our Chisinau
partners are now equipped with a range of knowledge and experience
of western models of public transport which can be utilised to
help develop solutions to the problems and issues facing public
transport in Chisinau.
In broader terms, the project has been significant
in raising the profile of public transport on the political agenda.
It has stressed the major role it must play in developing Chisinau
as a "green" and sustainable city and raised awareness
of the need for reforms and resources to enable the necessary
improvements to the public transport system.
During the course of the project the partners
established several non-core activities
of the Public Transport Company (housing, catering etc.), as independent
reviewed staffing levels and management
assessed options for fleet renewal
and potential suppliers of new vehicles;
approached the National Government
for a review of the concessionary fares scheme;
assessed and implemented route and
commenced surveys of public transport
usage (in co-ordination with the EU INPHORMM project);
developed a contractual relationship
between the Municipality and Public Transport Company;
identified and assessed options for
public transport infrastructure improvements and traffic management
measures to give priority for public transport;
completed an initial feasibility
assessment for tram/light rail opportunities.
Some of these actions, of course, need to be
developed further and can only be implemented in the longer term.
However, it should be recognised that the project has helped provide
both the basis and impetus for more lasting impacts.
8. BARRIERS AND
The project required the involvement of senior
Municipality and Public Transport Company managers. Given their
positions and responsibilities, the project on occasions had to
compete with other demands for their time. Our partners were also,
understandably, keen to progress the higher profile and innovative
measures within the project. These aspirations had to be reconciled
with the need for short term, "unseen" and more rudimentary
improvements to public transport.
In broader terms, some of the project objectives
and recommendations will inevitably be constrained by available
finances and resources which will determine the speed of their
implementation. Public transport will have to compete with other
sections of society for funds. It is also the case that some of
the project objectives will prove unpopular with sections of society
as was found with the recent fares increases. Car drivers are
likely to criticise measures which restrict their movements and
many passengers who currently receive free travel will object
to paying fares if existing concessionary fares arrangements are
reformed. Such moves will be politically sensitive and their longer-term
benefits, including environmental gains, will need to be promoted
to help off-set criticism. Whether the TACIS environmental objectives
can be achieved without the restructuring of public transport,
for example, is less clear but there is optimism that a new pragmatic
"non western" approach to environmental concerns can
be developed in the NIS.
In Chisinau car ownership is growing rapidly
and public transport is in decline as economic and political factors
constrain the necessary investment in vehicle renewals and improvements
to maintenance and infrastructure. This is likely to be familiar
to many other NIS cities and given this it is expected that the
Chisinau project could be readily applied elsewhere. In particular,
the project evaluated several strategic and operational issues
which will be common to other NIS public transport operators including
the need for operational efficiency, company restructuring, income
generation and reform of fares systems. With moves away from a
command economy possibilities also exist for establishing client/contractor
relationships between Municipalities and Public Transport Companies.
In these aspects the project could act as a model in helping to
progress the restructuring of public transport in other NIS cities.
10. LESSONS LEARNED
The project benefitted from political support
in both Chisinau and Hampshire. This coupled with the excellent
working relationships which were developed provided the foundation
for the project to progress. Also by ensuring the involvement
of senior personnel from the Municipality and Public Transport
Company it is expected that the project will have a sustained
impact and greater opportunity for its longer term and strategic
recommendations to be implemented.
The partners quickly recognised the need for
the project to evaluate the broad principles and strategic issues
affecting public transport in Chisinau. The project had to be
adapted to take account of this and with hindsight the project
would have been planned with greater emphasis on these matters.
The project partners are organising a Public
Transport Conference in Chisinau for July 1998. The conference
would allow for a dissemination of the project results to NIS
Municipal and Public Transport Managers. Western European public
transport operators and suppliers will also be involved. This
will help improve links and business opportunities within the
public transport field between the EU and NIS and within the NIS.
Hampshire County Council is exploring funding
possibilities through the British Government's "Know How
Fund". This could allow for an extension of the public transport
project and help consolidate the partnership. There is also a
possibility that Chisinau Municipality may agree to a form of
term consultancy where for a small annual fee they will receive
advice and information, the County Council's support as a link
within UK businesses and ongoing assistance with progressing their
public transport reforms.
With the success of our TACIS project it may
prove possible for other Hampshire/Chisinau TACIS projects to
be progressed strengthening links by building co-operation in
Head of Passenger Transport
County Surveyor's Department
1 May 1998