Walk the Baltic -Take the Ferry!

Dear INTERFACE partners!

It is nearly 1,5 years ago, that public and private institutions joined forces to unlock idle potential of intermodal crossborder foot passenger traffic. This segment has unfortunately lost its importance during the last decades. The common goal of the partnership is to revitalize cross-border passenger traffic without car to a comfortable, cheap and environmental friendly alternative, when travelling within the Southern Baltic Sea Area. Attractive transport connections, which are available and accessible for everybody, are the basic requirement to facilitate regional integration and growing together beyond national borders.

A Europe without borders leads to a growing market for attractive crossborder passenger services. Foot passenger facilities have to be developed accordingly. Improved passenger services can only developed by powerful cross-border public-private partnerships; air and cruise traffic already set examples. As the latter rolled out the red carpet and overcame obstacles, INTERFACE community aims to improve the conditions for walk-on passangers and cyclists crossing the South Baltic by ferry; first problems were already solved.

Let me give you some examples: Since end of June bus time tables in Gedser are adjusted to the ferries. Foot passengers can directly change to the local bus service. This makes life much easier for foot passengers on the axis Rostock - Gedser. From May 2011 a modern bus shuttle will be established in Rostock bringing ferry passengers directly into the city center of Rostock and back. Parallely tourism and event packages will be created to attract more visitors from neighbour regions. Last but not least new Scandlines ferries will be adopted on this passage  in 2012.

With satisfaction we meet, that its able to travel by ferry and without a car from Rostock to Gedser, Trelleborg and Gdynia- and from there to Baltijsk, Helsinki and Karlskrona. It is also a pleasure for me to look at the achievements made so far on the other INTERFACE axes actually generated by fruitful cooperation.

I wish the growing INTERFACE community good luck in implementing the project objectives. 

Roland Methling Mayor Hanseatic City of Rostock