Passenger Shipping Line Rijeka-Dubrovnik Will Not Be Re-Established This Summer

Total Croatia News

Motorways have significantly reduced the number of passengers.

Although the government adopted a decision on the reinstitution of the long-distance passenger shipping line between Rijeka and Dubrovnik and subsequently increased funds for subsidies by as much as 40 million kunas, the project will not be implemented this summer, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on May 28, 2017.

There was not enough time for the whole process to be completed, and estimates of cost-effectiveness have demonstrated that the line would require much larger subsidies.

However, the story of the Rijeka-Split-Stari Grad-Korčula-Sobra-Dubrovnik line does not end here. The government’s decision remains in force and lobbyists will insist that the line should be re-established eventually, and not just during the tourist season, but through the whole year.

The government’s decision states that the ferry service should be maintained at least once a week, with a capacity of at least 650 passengers and 70 vehicles. In the middle of the tourist season, the ferry should sail at least three times a week.

Transport Minister Oleg Butković claims that the line will be in service throughout the year due to the interest of the public and local government units and will help better connect coastal counties. However, a more likely reason is the fact that European rules on state aid do not allow paying subsidies to seasonal lines in passenger shipping services. “It is a lie that there is not enough interest of passengers. People travel not because they are in a hurry, but due to the pleasure of sailing,” says Butković.

Still, the numbers are clear. By 2015, when it was discontinued, the line recorded the largest decline on the Croatian coast: from 156,000 passengers and 27,000 vehicles in 2004 to just half of that numbers in 2009. For seven trips in January and February 2010, a total of only 66 passengers and 20 vehicles was recorded, and the ship had 62 crew members. The decision to suspend the service until summer of that year saved 25 million kunas. The number of passengers declined during the tourist season as well, when 15 million kunas was needed for co-financing. The motorway has done its thing, and the 23-hour long sea voyage obviously has no future.

And there is no longer a ship to service the line. The only options are “Dubrovnik” and “Marko Polo”, and both are more than 40 years old. Still, Jadrolinija is reportedly looking for a possible ship somewhere in Japan.  


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