Since 2013, when as a result of a wave of civil resistance against the transport fare rise up the Municipality of Yerevan canceled this initiative, the process of the comprehensive settlement of the problems in the transport sector has launched. Anyway, it was officially announced but four years later, Yerevan residents do not notice significant changes in the industry.
The poor condition is accepted by capital's authorities. “The situation of urban transport is not sufficient. Temporary solutions have been made to some issues to ensure the normal operation of transport,” Vahe Nikoyan, The Republican Party of Armenia, Yerevan Deputy Mayor, said this during the discussion entitled “The Problems of Public Transport in Yerevan: What Solutions are Proposed by the Candidates of the Council of Elders?” at Media Center on April 27.
Although during the last four years no visible work was conducted on the update of public transport fleet, introduction of a uniform management system and installation of bus schedules, the deputy mayor, who is a candidate running for the Republican Party, promises a revolutionary solution and introduces the reasons for delaying the settlement of the problem.
The transport sector reform package with the consultant should be introduced to the public at the end of June of this year, as defined in the contract, Vahe Nikoyan said. “The project will be widely discussed before the final approval and already in early 2018, we will have a new transportation system,” he said, adding that based on the preliminary analyzes about 100 million dollars is necessary for the implementation of the project.
According to him, negotiations are underway with the European Investment Bank, to attract the funds. “We will introduce a uniform system of public transport management, with a joint GPS system and bus timetables. Transport fleet will be supplemented with buses. It is planned to introduce a unified electronic ticketing system. The whole system is passing under the municipal ownership. The so-called owners of the itineraries will stop existing but we are ready to work with private companies if the defined quality standards are provided,” Vahe Nikoyan said.
Davit Khajakyan, Yelq Alliance candidate, said that they consider it necessary to reduce the ratio between the minibuses and buses in favor of buses. “We also offer a special single lane, which will be designed exclusively for public transport. This procedure is available in many European countries as well as in Georgia,” he said, adding that “Yelq” Alliance will launch an underground station during the next five years.
Vahe Nikoyan contradicted him saying that the subway station operation would cost around 130 million euros which the municipality simply cannot perform with its budget of 84 billion AMD, 70 percent of which is allocated by the state budget for the delegated powers. “It is realistic and possible,” David Khazhakyan disagreed, “It is possible to implement due to the efficient and effective expenditures, as well as the attraction of international credit resources.”
Khachatur Khachatryan, Candidate from “Yerkir Tsirani” Party, said that the tops of the capital now remind of “Sodom and Gomorrah”. “We live in the 21st century where should be timetables at stops that should operate properly,” he highlighted. He also raised the issue of the violations of labor rights of drivers. “The drivers work overloaded, they work 12 hours instead of 10 and the transport intended for 15 people takes 25 people. There is also a security issue,” he said.
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Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
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