Bratislava, January 11 (TASR) – Safety systems to prevent collisions at railway crossings are neglected, maintains opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, pointing to the latest crash between a passenger train and lorry that occurred at a railway crossing in Podvysoka (Zilina region) on Thursday (January 10).
In light of the collisions, the liberals find the free-of-charge railway transport a “populist nonsense”. According to SaS, the free-of-charge trains must be replaced with a system of discounts for pensioners, students and disabled persons. “While we’re on the subject of physically disabled people and the elderly, it’s not only about discounts but also about making sure they can board the trains comfortably and safely,” added SaS MP Miroslav Ivan.
Ivan believes that investments should be made not only into the railway safety but also the modernisation of train stations. “Investments in railway infrastructure as well as concomitant increase of transport speeds belong among the obligations of the state as its owner. Passenger comfort on trains can be left to competition, which must be let in and not driven away from railways, as seen under this Government,” thinks Ivan.
These statements didn’t sit well with the Ministry of Transport and Construction, however, which perceives them as an attempt to take advantage of a tragic event in pursuit of scoring political points.
“All the more so considering that the railway crossing in question is equipped with fully functional light signalling,” underlined the ministry.
The ministry headed by Arpad Ersek (Most-Hid) pays close attention to railways and strives to make rail transport more attractive while bolstering safety at railway crossings, said the press department. “In the past year, the minister personally carried out a number of inspections at the railway crossings in order to increase the public awareness about the need to observe rules of road traffic and thus prevent accidents, which often end up fatally,” claimed the department.
Furthermore, the ministry plans to upgrade existing safety systems or build new ones at 75 level crossings by 2023.