This morning, returning from Cluj, it took us no less than two hours to get to the office. An hour and ten minutes from Otopeni to Baneasa, another 50 minutes to Tineretului. Madness.
Madder still is the fact that so many people do this daily. We have two friends or colleagues who are currently building houses beyond Otopeni. One insists the new passage being built at Baneasa will solve the problem, the other has admitted to taking a ‘head in the sand’ approach that will be dealt with when the time comes to move in.
The road in question, the DN1, is busy for a simple reason: it serves too many purposes. It is the only road to two international airports, Bucharest’s largest shopping centre, and is the main road north to Ploiesti, Brasov, beyond and back again.
What is needed most is in fact a rail link from the city to Otopeni airport. Alas, Bucharest’s powers that be have long insisted that the only option is a subterranean metro, costing billions. This is nonsense. A bog standard railway line would do the job. Far cheaper, it could be ready in months, not years, and a great deal of the traffic coming back into town (which is airport traffic) would disappear.
Pie in the sky? No. There is currently a railway line that passes within a mile of the terminal building (the line from Bucharest Gara de Nord to Snagov):
A simple extension of the line, a station at the terminal and enough trains to run a decent shuttle service. How much can that possibly cost?