Фото: Бојан Блажевски

The 4-decade long idea of introducing suburban rail transit as an addition to the bus public transportation system in Skopje isn’t welcomed with open arms by the current city authorities. The Skopje Region has 95 km of railroad track at its disposal which isn’t sufficiently utilized at the moment, in a situation when the road infrastructure is overloaded. As early as 1982, the authorities in Skopje have tried to implement public rail transit from the Transportation Center, i.e, Main Railway Station toward Gyorche Petrov, Miladinovci and Zelenikovo, but this project hasn’t been implemented so far.

Meta.mk sent questions to the City Hall of Skopje twice, on the 1st and the 7th of March, about the city’s current authorities’s opinion on the introduction of a suburban rail transit in Skopje and the activities that could be undertaken during the current mandate in order to use the Skopje rail knot for the needs of Skopje’s public transportation. Until now, we haven’t received any reply to any of the questions that were sent.

Skopje is one of the few cities in the Balkans, not to mention the rest of Europe, which neither has any city railway or any other type of transportation means using tracks for mass transportation of passengers, nor does it have any activities that would indicate its implementations. The trial ride and promotion of the idea for combining the trains with bicycle transportation was made in 2018 by the city’s previous authorities, but for now, this idea remains idle.

The complete railroad infrastructure in North Macedonia is owned by the state, including the railroad stations and tracks in the Skopje region. We already informed about the PE for Railroad infrastructure RNM’s railroads that it plans to finish the building of railroad track from the current station Ilinden to the Skopje International Airport by 2023 which would provide the capital with the first suburban rail transit line from the Transportation center to the airport.

Despite the fact that trains can transport several times more passengers than the buses or the cars, the current timeline for trains that are traversing indicates that it would shorten the time distance by half for traveling by train compared to buses at relations from the Transportation center to destinations such as Drachevo, Zelenikovo, Volkovo, Gyorche Petrov, Miladinovci and Ilinden, including the passenger transit to the Skopje International Airport.

The Transportation Centre with its 10 tracks could easily take the new lines from the suburban rail transit system, and in favor of the implementation of the suburban rail transit system is the fact that the existing railroad lines from the Transportation Centre to locations such as Madzari, Skopje-Sever, and Drachevo are intended only for passenger rail transit.