Bishkek Mayor's Office again signed for his own impotence and the inability to solve the problems of the city. Public transport in the capital was almost completely paralyzed on July 28. This "gift" on the eve of one of the main Muslim holidays as made by private transporters.
Minibuses simply didn't come on the line. Strike was held exactly in the day when many people went to the market to buy food to Orozo ait. The requirement was traditional: to increase the fare. The reason for the action was a rise in price of fuel and higher fines for traffic violations.
At bus stops - dozens of people waiting for the transport, buses and trolley buses packed. This picture could be seen almost all over Bishkek. Of the residential community one could leave only by taxi. Not only official transporter companies were working up, but also ordinary Bishkek residents. To get to your destination cost 20-30 soms. Expensive, of course, but there was no alternative. Especially for those who had bought products in the market or was out of the house with small children. Squeeze into public transport to these passengers was impossible.
We must pay tribute to the buses and trolleys. On the line came out additional machines, traffic interval averaged 3-5 minutes. But they are still too small to cope with the flow of passengers. While Bishkek stood waiting public transport, city officials were resting peacefully. They didn't care that the capital came to a standstill in traffic jams. This happens more than once, which means that it is not a reason to discontinue the legal holiday in order to deal in the emergency. City officials move around the city by private car, that's why know about the problems with public transport only by hearsay.
Minibuses resumed work on July 29. One thing - to arrange a demonstration action to prove their indispensability, and quite another - to lose revenue due to downtime. Trips for passengers on several routes were an unpleasant surprise. Particularly adventurous drivers have decided not to wait for a legitimate increase in prices and took from passengers 12-15 soms. It was useless to resent. All the questions drivers with a straight face replied: "If you don't like it - go on foot or by bus".
Morning of July 30 passengers were cautious before paying the fare, asked if the price is old or new. Drivers had no consensus on this point: someone took the new price, but most responded that the fare will increase from August 1.
- Who approved a new tariff? Municipality must also give their consent, deputies - vote for the increase. Did they have a meeting? - Trying to figure out the details of the driver of the route №162.
- We don't need the decision of the City Hall. The Ministry of Transport and Communications will adopt the new tariff, the driver calmly responds.
- Did something change after the strike?
- Yes, tariffs will be raised. And we, in our turn, will set the bench to have more seats, -
the driver says confidently. No joy could be seen on the faces of the passengers.
- You can be understood. Fuel is expensive, spare parts too, and the fare remains the same. So you have to go on strike in order to draw authorities' attention, - another passenger entered into the conversation.
- No, we are on strike not for increase in tariffs. But because of new fines for traffic violations. Now for each standee we must pay 3,000 soms fine. It is unprofitable for us to work if only seating will stay.
How and where drivers of minibuses are going to install more benches? Minibuses are already overloaded. They simply have no place. Most - freight buses that were changed for the passenger one. Only a small part of minibuses are really designed for the transport of persons. But there is no possibility to install additional seats. And the bench is not the safest place to travel in the domestic minibuses. But private transporters don't think about the interests of customers.
Rightly praised the work of one of the minibuses the user of social networks under the name Murych: "They don't know regulation, are bad mannered and willing to do anything just to get the extra 5 soms fare. They all hate us. For everything. Because they have to get up early, for the need to pay for rent, that we strives to pay not pass in time, that not we carry them, but they carry us, that we ask to make music not so loud or not to smoke in the cabin".
The Urban Transport Administration of Bishkek came to help drivers of minibuses. Its head offered to extend the concept of overload in minibuses at least for those buses, which are in Bishkek. Say, the norm in the law is not correct, that one standing passenger - is overweight. It is necessary to take into account the specifics of the capital.
"The minibuses have handrails and standees are provided. We need legislation to determine how many standing passengers can be in the cabin. It is necessary to take into account the social factor. For example, it is impossible to leave from new buildings without reloading," the Head of Urban Transport of Bishkek Nurlan Abdykanov said to 24.kg news agency.
Private transporters confidently claim about increase of the fare from August 1. But in fact it turns out that they are running ahead of the engine. They don't have right to set a new tariff. Representatives of 46 private transporting companies have applied to the Bishkek city council with a demand to raise the tariff, but received no reply. Deputies are on leave and not going to consider the issue in the near future.
"There won't be rising of fares in minibuses from August 1. Before approving the tariffs we need to calculate everything. We need to know exactly how justified the increase is. It must be at least a month. Therefore, talk of increasing the payment from August 1 - just rumors. If drivers will charge higher fares, the citizens can contact the Office of urban transport with the number of the route and state number of the minibus. We will examine," Nurlan Abdykanov said to 24.kg news agency.
The mayor of Bishkek Kubanichbek Kulmatov has denied information on tariffs set by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. He said that such a right has only the deputies, and they will return to the issue in September. But the leader of the department voiced phrase that explains the confidence of drivers that they will achieve their goal.
"The current rate of 10 soms is set at a cost of a liter of diesel fuel in 36.5 soms. Currently, fuel costs 45 soms, so drivers need to increase and travel expenses," the mayor said.
In 2012, for the same reason private transporters demanded higher fares. And the methods were identical. Then the townspeople were promised that for 10 soms a comfortable transport will be waiting for them. In fact the situation for two years hasn't changed.
It turns out that the increase in fares in minibus - just a matter of time. Lobbying of transport kings is more important than interests of the citizens. Some deputies, of course, have already said they are considering the issue. But they can't offer anything good. For all media questions they answered evasively: "It's not so simple. We are in negotiations. "For most people in Bishkek increase fares in the bus - a serious blow to the pocket. Pay for low-quality service people don't want, it's better to go on foot.