Interview with Włodzimierz Wilkanowicz,

President of Koleje Wielkopolskie

How is Koleje Wielkopolskie inscribed in the “Master Plan for the Poznań Metropolitan Railway”?

The Master Plan is a map leading to launching passenger transport in the Poznań conurbation with trains running at least every 30 minutes. Koleje Wielkopolskie, as a modern and at the same time experienced carrier, is completely ready to take part in such a challenging project both organisationally and technically. The more if we consider that at present, at transport peak hours, our connections to Wągrowiec or Gniezno fully suit this concept. 

 The inhabitants of Greater Poland think the revival of the closed railway line is important and look forward to it. To what extent have you fulfilled this task?
These tasks are the responsibility of the owner and administrator of railway infrastructure, that is, PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe. If it is important for regional traffic, financial support from regional government is involved in the project. From the point of view of the carrier, every modernisation of the line followed by improvements in railway traffic, offers a possibility to launch a comfortable, fast and, most importantly, safe connection. Effective use of European funds is crucial here.

One of the conditions to ensure travelling comfort to passengers is modern rolling stock…
Together with the owner of Koleje Wielkopolskie, that is, the Marshal’s Office, we decided that the refurbishment of the rolling stock would be a responsibility of the regional government. I can confirm we are waiting for the award of the contract in tender concerning the purchase of ten electric multiple units. We agreed with the organiser of the tender that these should be five-car units. Thanks to regular monitoring of the number of passengers and surveys concerning the quality of travelling experience, we know that this is what the inhabitants of Greater Poland expect from us. Irrespective of that, we have also had our rolling stock modernised regularly.

 We intended to build a new service centre in Wągrowiec and expand the basic rolling stock maintenance facility in Zbąszynek…
Actually we plan to build a maintenance base in Wągrowiec and we have obtained necessary funds under an operational programme. Advanced works on this investment are pending. Thanks to local government authorities we have acquired land where the construction will be carried out from PKP SA. Using the funds available under the past financial perspective, we have developed a concept of the supply base and the construction design. We are at the final stage of obtaining the required permits and we hope that in the first quarter of 2017 we will be able to announce the construction tender. 

Without any doubt, the so-called common ticket, which can be used both for railway and city public transport purposes, is very convenient for passengers.
The introduction of the common ticket is crucial for the inhabitants of the Poznań conurbation. Therefore, in consultation with the regional government, we have carried out a project that to some extent can be regarded as its substitute. We have a common ticket for trains and for buses and tramways in Poznań. Besides, we have been implementing two other local concepts – a common ticket involving city public transport in Gniezno and in Wągrowiec. Whereas, as far as the big metropolitan railways programme is concerned, the common ticket will be based on the existing PEKA card used in city transport in Poznań. 

Young people aged up to 25 account for 40 per cent of passengers using the services of Koleje Wielkopolskie. Free Wi-Fi on the trains would be a good idea …
The service quality surveys carried out on the trains of Koleje Wielkopolskie have shown that as many as 40 per cent of our passengers are young people below 25 years of age. We realise that if we want to be a modern and competitive carrier we must ensure European travelling standards to our passengers, including additional services such as for example Internet access. This is why all the newly purchased trains must satisfy the condition of unlimited access to the Internet. The rolling stock we currently use will have Wi-Fi after the expiration of the term of warranty for these vehicles.

From the passengers’ point of view the planning of the timetable is of key importance. What does this process look like in your company?

Timetable planning is a process involving three parties: the regional government, the carrier and the administrator of railway lines. Regional government authorities, in their capacity as transport organiser, play the key role. Performing one of its statutory tasks they determine the number of trips and suggest departure times. Our company's tasks include communication of previous transport experience taking passenger feedback into account. At this stage we closely cooperate with the local government, at the same time making use of the results of cyclic surveys. As an operator we are also responsible for taking the line throughput capacity into account. According to surveys, the most important thing for passengers is a timetable making it possible for them to reach their workplace, school or university at a specific time. Passengers expect frequent connections, especially at the peak hours, and a stable timetable, which is sometimes difficult to accomplish, in particular when intensive repair works take place on railway lines, which is currently a huge challenge for us.

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