Transportation and Telecommunications
In the early 1990s, the rock-strewn roadways, unstable rail lines, and obsolete telephone network crisscrossing Albania represented the remnants of the marked improvements that were made after World War II. Enver Hoxha's xenophobia and lust for control had kept Albania isolated, however, as the communications revolution transformed the wider world into a global village. Even internal travel amounted to something of a luxury for many Albanians during communism's ascendancy. For years, peasants needed special passes to visit nearby districts, and until 1990 the government banned private ownership of automobiles. Urban mass transit consisted primarily of bus lines for ferrying workers between home and work. Breakdowns in Tiranė's bus lines sometimes forced employees to walk to work or pay for rides in the beds of passing trucks. The communications system sustained severe damage in the chaos of the economic collapse as people ripped down telephone lines to use as fencing. Despite generally deteriorating conditions, the importation of fleets of used cars and buses and popular hunger for contact with the outside world raised hopes that matters would improve.
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