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St. Petersburg to reform public transport

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Less than six months is left before the start of the reform.

St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov has signed the document defining the framework of the public transport reform in St. Petersburg. The main aim of the reform is to promote public transport.

The city will buy new buses, make additional traffic lanes for them and optimize the route network. 

The document has passed public consultations. Saint-Petersburg TV Channel reporter Kirill Radion has talked to experts on the coming changes in public transport.

The main concern for people is whether the city will be able to guarantee uninterrupted bus traffic after private shuttle buses stop operating. The city government assures that on every route served by private carriers three times as many buses will be deployed. Besides, more than two hundred additional bus stops are to be installed.

According to the St. Petersburg Committee for transport, the reform does not mean that private carriers will leave the market. But they will have to modernize their park with buses no older than three years. This is expected to improve transport safety and the image of the city.

‘Private shuttle buses, which violated the traffic rules and all safety regulations, will leave the market,’ Igor Malygin, Director of the N.S.Solomenko Transport Problems Institute, says.

After the reform, all the overland passenger transport in St. Petersburg will have a single social tariff, with all privileges for all categories of recipients valid. Passengers will be able to pay for their trip with bank cards. For that, all the buses will be equipped with validators.

Two new transport cards will be introduced, one for all transport modes including metro for an hour, and the other for overland transport modes only for an hour and a half. This measure is aimed for passengers who have to change getting to their destination.

Valentina Solovyova, expert with Optimal Transport System Laboratory, believes that changing is no problem if there are comfortable transport interchange hubs, and the schedule is observed, and passengers do not have to wait for a long time. ‘But they should not have to pay for changing from one transport to another,’ she adds.

Experts are sure that developing overland public transport is the only way to make getting from one part of the city to another quick and comfortable.

Vladimir Valdin, director, passenger transport solutions, with a transport design company, explains: ‘Introducing bus lanes allows of increasing road capacity by several times. We improve both the speed and the quality of transport services.’

The tram network also has a large potential. The Chizhik private tram project that was launched in St. Petersburg last year is an example.

Christian Boettger, member of an international road and transport research society, warns: ‘Building metro everywhere is luxury that not everybody can afford. We need more trams, with separate lanes. This is what people need to move quickly.’

Less than six months is left before the start of the reform. During this period, the city is to buy 900 new buses, and sign contracts with private transport companies to embark on a new stage in public transport development that will start on July 16.

Photo and video: St. Petersburg TV channel

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