Authorities in Kraków have threatened to revoke the licence for the company operating the Kraków-Balice airport fast rail service, saying tickets are too expensive.
At 19zł for a one-way trip, the journey between the city’s main railway station and the airport works out at around 1.73zł per kilometre – making it the most expensive rail ticket in Poland.
Just a year ago, the price of the one-way journey was 10zł. This rose to 12zł at the beginning of the year, then went up again to 19zł, just before the European football championships this summer. The move backfired, as the Balice Express saw a massive drop in the number of passengers and more and more opted for the bus. The bus service has this week become even more viable as, although it takes longer to reach the airport, there is now a boot for luggage on some vehicles. Passengers arriving at Balice have also opted to take a taxi to the centre. I-Car, for example, charge just 40zł from the international terminal to Kazimierz. For two people that works out at 1zł more than the Balice Express, for a private, door to door, round the clock service.
Now the regional marshal’s office has warned that the licence to operate the airport train may be revoked if ticket prices do not fall. Marek Sowa, Marshal for Małopolska, said the contract specified that the service must be ‘affordable’. He told local press that, while passengers were opting for buses or taxis, the Balice Express was running empty.
Mr Sowa said: “we are anxious to carry large numbers of passengers and subsidise only as much as necessary. We will not finance the passage of empty trains… we might as well subsidise taxi drivers.”