Transport in Białystok
Białystok is, and has been for centuries, the main hub of transportation for the Podlaskie Voivodeship and the entire northeastern section of Poland. It is a major city on the European Union roadways (Via Baltica) and railways (Rail Baltica) to the Baltic Republics and Finland. It is also a main gateway of trade with Belarus due to its proximity to the border and its current and longstanding relationship with Hrodno, Belarus. Passenger trains do connect from Suvalki, Hrodno and Lithuania to Warsaw and the rest of the European passenger network. An extensive public transportation system is provided within the city by three bus services, but no tram or subway exists.
A civil airport, Białystok-Krywlany Airport, lies within the city limits, but does not provide regularly scheduled service. There are plans to build a new regional airport, Białystok-Saniki Airport, in the next few years that will provide flights within Europe.
Before World War II Białystok had a horse tram network. After the war, plans for the electrification of the lines proved too costly and the lines were pulled down. Since then buses have been the only means of public transportation. There are plans to develop a rapid city rail system in the near future, using the existing railways within the city limits, which will improve the reliability of public transport.
Roads and highways
- – Rzeszow-Lublin-Bielsk Podlaski-Białystok-Kuźnica (Belarus-Polish border)
- – Goldap (Russia-Polish border)-Ełk-Białystok-Bobrowniki (Belarus-Polish border)
- / 67 – Budziska (Polish-Lithuania border)-Białystok-Warsaw-Wrocław-Kudowa Zdrój (Czech-Polish border)
Bialystok is the largest city in Poland that has only one form of public transit (bus). There is an extensive bus network that covers the entire city. Tickets have to bought in advance - they are sold in many places, including newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets and designated ticket retail points. Only in the latter can you buy daily and monthly bus passes. There are 28 city lines, 9 metropolitan lines and 3 night lines (weekends only) served by 3 bus operators partially owned by the municipality - KPKM, KPK and KZK. Each share approximately a third of the lines and the bus fleet.
The main railway station is Białystok railway station and passenger services are provided by two rail service providers:
- PKP Intercity - intercity passengers trains (express, intercity, eurocity, hotel and TLK)
- Przewozy Regionalne - runs only regional passenger trains financed by the voivodeship. Passenger trains are mostly run using electrical multiple units (on electrified lines) or rail buses.
Przewozy Regionalne provides service on the following routes:
- Białystok - Sokółka - Augustów - Suwałki
- Białystok - Sokółka - Kuźnica Białystok- Hrodno, Belarus
- Białystok - Warsaw
- Białystok - Mońki - Grajewo - Ełk
- Hajnówka - Czeremcha - Siemiatycze - Siedlce
- Białystok - Bielsk Podlaski - Czeremcha (Connects to Hajnówka - Siedlce service)
There are 13 trains a day from Warsaw, the first one leaving at 4.55 and the last one at 21.30. The journey takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes. 11 of those trains are operated by PKP Intercity and cost 39 zl (10 euro) for the second class and 59 zl (15 euro) for the first-class ticket. There are two second-class only trains operated by Przewozy Regionalne (PR) which cost 29 zl (7 euro). These leave Warsaw at 11.40 and 20.05. Białystok has also direct connections with other cities in northern Poland such as Gdansk and Olsztyn.
For timetables and prices, see Polish State Railways.
PKS Bialystok operates coaches to most major cities in Poland. Although the coach journey takes much longer than the train and the price is usually more expensive, sometimes the timetables may be more convenient.
Currently, the nearest airport to Białystok is a regional airport, Hrodna Airport in Hrodna, Belarus. Hrodna only provides domestic service within Belarus. The closest international airport to Białystok is Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport in Warsaw.
Construction of a new regional airport, Białystok-Saniki Airport 27 km WNW of Białystok in the village of Saniki, Gmina Tykocin, is set to begin in 2012 and completed in 2015. In the first year of operation (2015), according to estimates of the Podlaskie Voidvodeship Marshal's Office, the airport will handle 12,000 passengers growing in 2020 to 145,000 passengers. The airport is proposed to have a runway length of 2,000 m and width of 60 m (45 m + band). It is projected to operate aircraft with a wingspan of up to 52 meters. Construction of the airport is projected to cost five hundred million zł paid for by a combination of funding from the Podlaskie Voivodeship, the Polish Government and EU infrastructure funding.
- "Przewozy Regionalne". Retrieved 23 January 2010.
- "Aeroklub Białostocki". Retrieved 2011-01-29.
- "Białystok-Saniki Airport". Retrieved 2011-01-29.
- "Poland to Build Five New Airports in Five Years". The Warsaw Voice. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
- "Airport Saniki. Details on one of the largest investments in the province.". Gazeta Wspolczesna. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
- "Saniki. The money at the airport". Gazeta Wspolczesna. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- Media related to Transport in Białystok at Wikimedia Commons