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The aqua-bus season starts in St. Petersburg

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An aquatic taxi is travelling down the route “Primorskaya line” – from the Staraya village to the Finlandskiy train station and further to the Bronze horseman statue. This year the transport company put a brand new vessel on the route. Nikolay Rastvortsev found out why the company is optimistic about its future, despite that the aqua-bus fate remains unclear.

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Nikolay Rastvortsev, reporter: “Usually sailors celebrate the beginning of aquatic season. But there were no festivities among the aqua-bus crew. Possibly because this summer may become the last for naval taxis”

The current contract of the transportation company and the city’s administration expires in 2015. One line is operational today – this summer the route was extended until the Bronze Horseman monument. Something that sailors were happy with. Although, this is not where the ship-operators’ dreams end

Alexander Tsygankov, capitan-mechanic: “We want more boats. And we would like the route to start at the Rybatskiy Bridge reaching the Bronze Horseman. Such line would cover the whole of the Neva”

The interval between boats is 15 minutes in rush hours. A trip from the Primorskiy avenue to the Finlandskiy train station costs 100 rubles. Another 70 rubles must be paid by those who want to get from the Arsenalnaya embankment to the Senatskaya square. Fees are higher in the weekends, intervals are longer

Nikolay Rastvortsev, reporter: “Speed is the main advantage of aqua-buses. But many preferred aqua-buses because of romantics – you wont get a chance to ride the waves of the Northern Capital’s city center on tourist boats”

Although – according to the transport company – the stereotype that aqua-buses are in demand only among tourists has nothing to do with the real statistics. A research showed that naval taxi is popular among citizens – tourists make up only 2 percent of the travelers. Today – on the opening day of the season – regular customers flocked to the harbor

Alexander Omshev, passenger: “I left my car at the Finlyandskiy train station. Going from studies to work. 10 minutes that way, 10 minutes back. Its comfortable, no traffic, and stress-free”

The transport company seems optimistic about the future. A new, more comfortable and spacy boat was purchased this year. Now the company’s representatives are closely working with the government’s designated committee, hoping to secure a new deal with the city’s authorities.

Evgeniya Titova, press-secretary of transport company: “We’ll try to make our transportation tariffs lower. We’re negotiating that. Both the company’s specialists and members of the Transport Committee are trying to find an optimal fee, so that aqua-taxis would be more attractive and affordable to the passengers”

Last year was a difficult one for the aqua-taxis. But despite all complications, their passenger turnover increased by 30%. 5 months of a work shift lays ahead of these captains. And none of them call it the last one. 

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