Clearing the way for buses in Kiev

T&E’s Ukrainian member NECU has launched a campaign to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gases in Ukraine’s cities – and it is focusing on bus lanes as a key to reducing emissions without a loss of mobility.

There are bus lanes in Ukraine, but buses have great difficulty using them because of the amount of cars illegally driving – or even parked – in them. As a result, buses have difficulty sticking to their timetable because they are constantly stuck in traffic jams along with private cars.

NECU therefore launched a campaign named ‘Clear the lane!’ which aims to make car drivers clear the bus lanes for public transport only, and in this way to increase mobility in the city. The capital Kiev was chosen as a pilot campaign city, and following a media action day in September, NECU is replicating the campaign in other Ukrainian cities.

Maria Storchylo of NECU said: ‘We are not saying that if we clear bus lanes all Kiev’s air pollution problems will stop. But clearing the bus lanes and introducing the new ones are the easiest and cheapest way to prioritise public transport.

‘We prepared a paper explaining our views on solving Kiev’s complex public transport problems. In this paper, we concluded that a big obstacle to reducing harmful emissions was people’s ability to rely on buses. Of course, that means coordinated efforts from the police and the city administration to make it work, though direct work with drivers also matters. We have made several public ‘raids’ on improperly parked cars, handing leaflets to the drivers, and we also brought three-metre-long wood bus to the city hall to show the local administration how people struggled spending their time in traffic jams.’