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What will surprise foreign guests of Euro 2012 on the way to our stadiums?

The airport without railway station, toilets for money and physical exercises at the station are said to spoil the first impression of the Ukraine.

 The main event of this year is undoubtedly the European football championship taking place on the Ukrainian territory for the first time in history. The pace of preparation for this historic event is impressive. Some months ago one could not believe that things would change by summer when looking at a lot of unfinished projects – roads, airports, train stations, stadiums. But today even the inveterate skeptics acknowledge that «we have time.»

However, the level of preparation for the event is not only in building sports and infrastructure facilities.  It is also important to provide service for foreign visitors on their way from the airport /train station/border to places of football battles. However, here is a problem starting from the roads (asphalt made in the autumn is already covered pits and potholes) to road infrastructure facilities and level of personnel.

Here is a list of problems that we have yet to solve in the months that remain before the start of the championship.

OBSTACLE 1: QUEUES IN BOARDER POINTS

Jams. One has to stay on the border in the queue from 2 to 14 hours. For those who tried to cross the Ukrainian border with Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, by car or by bus, the worst word is «shift change» – in this case, you can stay on the border for 2-4 hours. There are delays up to 12-14 hours. Alas, there are no facilities in order to spend this time. Even the queues to WC takes 15-20 minutes and where it is possible to celebrate the natural needs without the queue, the state of closet is so disgusting that one cannot entre there.

The customs officers and border guards lazily check drivers of private cars and inspect passenger compartments of buses. It takes at least half an hour. You can speed up the procedure, but for a bribe. «Tariff» from the bus is $ 5 per passenger ($ 300-350), from passenger cars – $15-20. Note that the money should be paid to the competent authorities for them to perform their duties quickly. If the stream of tourists during the tournament will grow as projected by 5 times, the border will be simply blocked. It is necessary to take action.

WILL CUSTOMS GET FASTER?

Customs Service of the Ukraine and neighbouring countries are working on changing the algorithm of fans passing. In late January, General Director of Customs of Poland Jacek Kapitza and head of the State Customs Service of the Ukraine Igor Kaletnik said that there would be a «boundary booking» introduced – customs officers will receive information from tour operators about buses with fans. Supervisors will only have to check passports.

They promise to simplify the procedure for the cars as well. As a result, the speed of a vehicle crossing the border should not exceed 20 minutes. Alas, this is not enough – the experience shows that the specification should be reduced by 4 times to avoid queues.

OBSTACLE 2: AIRPORT FREE Of TRANSPORT

In Western Europe there is no airport, which is not connected with the city by the subway, tram or train. Therefore, an alien who arrives in the capital of the Ukraine will be surprised as he learns that one can get from Boryspil to Kiev only by bus or shuttle bus (which is always fully packed). You can also take a taxi, but it is expensive. A taxi to Kiev costs the same as in France. The newly created municipal employees offer driving to Kiev for 170 UAH. For comparison, the private taxi drivers  (with the monopoly they have been expelled from the territory of the airport) offered a drive for  100-120 UAH.

In addition, the Europeans, arriving in a new country, prefer to rent cars. But if the car in Brussels of VW Golf class costs around 30 Euros a day, we have 3-4 times more expensive.

The issue with the hotels is also surprising – a single bed in the hostel of Kiev costs the same (200-500 UAH) as the room in the 3-star hotel in Berlin (25-40 euros), including breakfast.

OBSTACLE 3: RAILWAY  STATION

Platform. To get a bag in, one must be a strong man.

Even the capital train station, which was reconstructed 10 years ago, does not meet the basic requirements to the European convenience for passengers today.

To begin with, one needs to haul heavy things from the platform two flights over slippery granite steps. The exit itself is very narrow and close, creating a jam, even with the current passenger traffic. It is scary to think about what can happen if it will increase many times …

The height of the platform does not comply with European standards – one has to climb the train, not to entre and one must be a strong man to drag a heavy bag.

Another curse is toilets. First, there are almost no pointers to them and secondly, they are paid and one needs to pay, of course, hrivnas – foreigners should take care of the exchange in advance.

DO NOT EXPECT FOR EUROSERVICE

All of the above mentioned is certainly shocking for European fans. However, by the time of meeting guests we expect to bring at least something to European level – for example, to solve the problem with toilets.

 

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