HANTON law firm co-organizes debate at TRAKO 2023 on countering transport exclusion

HANTON law firm co-organizes debate at TRAKO 2023 on countering transport exclusion

On September 21, 2023, a debate was held by the HANTON Law Firm and the Pro Railway Foundation, entitled. "Fighting transport exclusion - How to effectively develop public transportation in the regions?". The event received recognition from the participants and was appreciated as an important forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience related to the issues of fighting transport exclusion. The subject matter of the event turned out to be so interesting that room 1A of the TRAKO fair was almost completely filled.

The official opening and introduction was conducted by Managing Partner of the HANTON Law Firm r.pr. Dr. Michał Zięba and President of the Pro Kolej Foundation Dr. Jakub Majewski.

The debate was preceded by an introductory speech by a representative of the Ombudsman's Office, Mr. Krzysztof Szerkus. The representative of the Ombudsman discussed the issue of the right to public transportation as a potential civil right. The lecture outlined the thesis that transportation exclusion can limit or even prevent the realization of an individual's civil rights arising directly from the Polish Constitution.

The panel discussion included six speakers:

  • Andrzej Bittel - Secretary of State at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Government Plenipotentiary for Counteracting Transport Exclusion
  • Iwona Budych - President of the Transport Exclusion Association
  • Dr. Karol Klosowski - Director of the Department of Passenger Transportation, UTK
  • Adam Pawlik - President of Polregio S.A.
  • Tomasz Warchoł - President of Małopolska Railways
  • Dominika Żelazek - President, Arriva Polska

The moderator of the debate was Managing Partner of HANTON Law Firm r.pr. Dr. Michał Zięba.

During the debate, speakers discussed such topics as:

  • Is Poland's rail infrastructure prepared for an increase in freight and train frequency? Which ongoing and planned investments improve the potential for the development of local transport?
  • Why is the fight against transport exclusion so important for local communities, and does it also have a broader dimension - regional or national?
  • How to increase passenger streams in rail transportation? What are the biggest challenges facing local government rail carriers?
  • What could a new or improved financing system for provincial public service passenger transportation look like? What is missing from the financing system for passenger carriers today?
  • Can opening up the market help fight transport exclusion? Who stands to gain from competition in the regions?
  • Acquisition of rolling stock by PTZ organizers and by carriers - pros and cons of each solution.

Attorney Michał Zięba summarized the main points of the discussion, pointing out that while the right to public transportation does not derive directly from the Constitution, the lack of such transportation prevents the realization of other civil rights. As the representative of the Ombudsman's Office rightly emphasized, although the existence or operation of public transportation is not a constitutional right of a citizen, it is a condition that enables (often necessary) the realization of many civil rights and freedoms, in particular to health care, education, work, freedom of movement and the choice of residence and domicile. In conclusion, it can also be argued that the constitutional imperative to protect the environment further reinforces the State's obligation (understood in the largo sense, including local government bodies) to develop public transportation, which may provide an additional argument for intensifying the State's efforts to counter transport exclusion.

After the event, participants had the opportunity to network and exchange insights related to the all-important topic of transportation exclusion.

We would like to thank the panelists for an interesting and substantive discussion, and the participants in the audience for such a large presence.

Honorary patronage of the event was assumed by:

  • Ministry of Infrastructure
  • Ombudsman for Civil Rights Protection
  • Railroad Transport Office
  • Transport Exclusion Association
  • Union of Local Government Railway Carriers

Media patrons were:

  • Railroad Market
  • Rail Sector
  • Kurier Kolejowy

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