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Obscure Transport Collapse in Tbilisi

10.01.2011

Salome Achba

The optimization of urban transportation causes transport collapse in Tbilisi. The overburdened municipal buses, prolonged waiting for the desired transportation at the bus stops and the risen prices for travelling is today’s reality in Tbilisi. Tbilisi residents have not seen this kind of situation since 90s when because of the oil deficiency buses could not work and people would ride on top of the trolley buses to reach the destination.

The problem deepened particularly when the amount of municipal buses decreased and the long routes were entirely cancelled. People have to change two transportation sources at minimum for going just to one direction. This, apart from time consumption, causes financial expenses – especially now when the transportation price has been increased by 10 tetra.
Because of the bus reduction, people have to wait longer at the bus stops and the transportation is so burdened that if you are lucky and manage to enter, you must have strong nervous system and good health to endure the journey and reach the destination.

The former driver of bus #13 informed the Human Rights Center that the reason for unexpected bus reduction was the request of the Defense Ministry. According to him, the Defense Ministry asked the City Hall to give out several buses for transportation of soldiers. The request concerned the Dutch, the so-called Sandra’s buses. To fill the gaps of these buses, they had to cancel different routes and redistribute the freed buses. However, neither the City Hall, nor the City Council opposition confirms this information.

The situation of students is particularly hard. The Chavchavadze avenue is certain “university street,” in order to reach the universities, the students, as usual, have to change two transportation, as “nothing goes straight to Vake,” – neither the buses, nor the mini buses.

“It is very hard for me not to be late to university. I live in Varketili and I have to change two buses to reach Vake. But this is nothing. The main thing is that you have to wait for municipal transportation for hours and when it comes, it is so burdened that riding in it is impossible, especially during morning hours. That is why I often take taxi that costs quite expensive,” – states Teona Lezhava, a student.

The decrease of amount of buses made it hard to ride in metro and mini buses as well. Only alternative for people is mini buses and metro, however, these types of transportation do not go in all directions and often people have to walk long on foot to reach the destination.

According to Tina Khidasheli, an opposition member of Tbilisi City Council, some of the reduced buses were cancelled because of technical inadequacy, some were given to the regions. She has not heard about the information that most of the buses were transferred to Defense Ministry and that causes the collapse.

As the City Hall urban service of transportation states, these changes were implemented as a result of observing the flow of passengers. The municipal transportation will soon work according to strictly worked out schedule. Ultimately the problem will be solved when the buses are switched by trams planned for 2013.
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