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Monday, December 11, 2023

The message from Minister Alenka Bratušek: If you do not want to get stuck in traffic, do not drive!

By: T. B. (Nova24tv.si)

If you do not want to get stuck in traffic or jams, simply do not use cars. Or you can all drive together wherever you go. Alternatively, take the bus or train, especially now during Mobility Week. No, it is not a joke. This is a summary of the advice from Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek, who does not see quick solutions for congestion and jams.

“Minister Alenka says that there are traffic jams on the highways because we drive alone and sets an example because she is chauffeured. Alenka does not look out the window while driving, so she does not see the long lines of foreign trucks,” commented economist Matej Lahovnik on her advice on Twitter, and her statements have also stirred up many others. Traffic jams and congestion on Slovenian highways are becoming increasingly unbearable, and in October, when the new academic year begins, traffic is expected to be even worse. Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek “does not see quick solutions”, and her advice makes one wonder if she is really making fun of people?

The issue of traffic jams and congestion on Slovenian roads is not new, and it seems that the situation has become completely unsustainable for drivers, especially on the roads leading to the capital in recent times. In addition to others who simply cross Slovenia via highways, more and more people who commute daily for work or other obligations are becoming increasingly frustrated. Everyone would prefer to spend their free time differently rather than in traffic jams. But Bratušek does not seem to care. She shared some advice with N1 that has infuriated many Twitter users.

She advises others to use public transport, even though she does not use it herself

“Absolutely, I agree that the situation could be better. Everyone who uses the roads could contribute to this, which means not driving alone in the car,” Bratušek emphasised as a solution, apparently not anticipating the obvious scenario that people have obligations at different times and in different places. If that is not possible, use public transportation, even though she does not use it herself – why would she, if she does not have to? “Again, it is just finding excuses. As long as public transportation takes at least twice as long as driving a car, people will continue to drive cars. You also have another solution to ease congestion: decentralise Slovenia! Distribute ministries and government offices throughout Slovenia, and it will be better,” wrote Božo Predalič in response.

The government would also determine the number of people in cars

Although a significant portion of the congestion is caused by freight traffic, Dars denies this and refers to statistics. However, every driver who commutes on Slovenian highways daily does not need statistics to see that there are a lot of freight vehicles on the roads, even during the busiest hours. Andrej Ribič, a member of the Dars management, agrees with Bratušek and says that “it is very wasteful if there is only one person in a vehicle. People commute to work from the same place, each with their own car, and that is what causes the congestion,” stated the representative of the state-owned company for highways. “Dear Ms. @ABratusek, I invite you to come to me for a month. We will commute to work with one car, my husband will go to Ljubljana twice a week, then training in the afternoon, and we take care of our elderly parents. One month. Welcome to our world,” commented a Twitter user on the matter.

Bratušek does not see quick solutions to traffic jams but has said that it is necessary to “discuss” the issue. How much longer will they need to discuss it before the government actually decides on an effective measure? Do people really have to be stressed on the road, along with all the other issues that the government has yet to resolve? Dars is planning several projects to alleviate daily congestion on the Ljubljana arterials. Long queues on the Štajerska and Primorska motorways will be addressed by converting the emergency lane into an additional traffic lane, specifically on sections between Ljubljana and Domžale and Ljubljana and Vrhnika. Bratušek plans to realise the third lane on these two most congested arterials by the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025, using an electronic traffic regulation system with meters and speed limits on the arterials.

“Unfortunately, none of this happens overnight,” were the minister’s concluding words.


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