I do not really like to write about the shortcomings of my city, but I can not leave this issue without attention either. So, in this article I would like to share my knowledge about the features of bus ride in Almaty.
For a start, general information.
In terms of the quality of the services provided, municipal services are slightly better, although much also depends on the route number, for example, on Route 63, which is a municipal, terrible service quality.
The fare in public transport is 80 tenge (about 25 USD cents), you can pay for travel either by using a special unified card of transportation in public transport ONAY, or by cash, for more information about a unified transport card read here . If you pay in cash, you should ideally get a ticket that confirms the fact of payment, which does not always happen.
You should know that there is a penalty for a stowaway. Often, in order to earn extra money, drivers give just paper pieces, a ticket torn in half, do not give a ticket at all or give someone's old ticket that some passengers return to the driver on leaving, I wonder if such people understand that by helping the driver to hide some of the fare, they give depot possibility to demand an increase the fee due to unprofitability.
What is the peculiarity of buses in Almaty?
Firstly, this is the technical condition of the buses. Despite the rather hot summer in the city (sometimes the temperature rises to 40 degrees Celsius in summer), you will not find buses, including trolley-buses, with air conditioning, apparently this attribute of comfortable driving is considered unnecessary. It should be noted that in some buses, as a rule not municipal ones, in winter time the heater also does not work, such a bus can be determined from the frozen windows. In some cases, though not very often, there are such problems as broken entrance doors, broken handrails, damaged seat upholstery, broken payment devices (they are usually in the cabin two, if all does not work, then you do not have to pay for the fare) and so on.
Further, I would emphasize the level of communication and behavior culture of the majority of drivers and conductors, what is more the conductors are not usually employees of the bus depot, they are usually just acquaintances who help the driver to accept payment for travel and ensure that all passengers pay the fare on time, which in general is not bad. In principle, you are not obligated to obey the commands of the conductor, since he is not an official, and his appeal to you can be classified according to the article of the administrative code as sticking in a public place, while there are official controllers who periodically check the payment for travel.
What do I mean by level of mannerliness?
I do not recommend you to resent if you are a woman or unable to stand up for yourself, as there have been cases when disgruntled passengers were pushed out of the bus.
A separate point is the rules for driving buses installed by drivers independently. Some drivers, when on a voyage without a conductor, refuse to open the doors, except for the front, located near the driver, in order to verify the payment of travel for passengers. Often they practice the following method, for more efficient loading of the bus by passengers, stand at a stop for a long time, then at the shortest possible time they try to reach the next stop, while violating all possible traffic rules, exceeding the speed limit, not observing the road marking, creation of an emergency situation, the passage to the prohibiting signal of a traffic light and so on, and at the same time not worried about the health of passengers.
Also, many drivers consider it beneath their dignity to miss a bus going along a similar route, so they are trying in every possible way to prevent overtaking by a competitor. Getting out of the bus, do not be surprised if the getting in passengers are not in a hurry to give you a pass, this is not a problem of the upbringing of passengers, it is also the merit of drivers who start to get move without waiting for the passengers to land and get out, especially the elderly people are afraid that the bus will leave without them or they fall, getting in or out of the bus.
Of course, there are other problems, such as crowded buses during rush hour, in which it is problematic to get in or use some fleets of buses that are not intended for operation on urban routes.
It can not be said that the city administration does nothing to solve the sore problems, a vivid example of fighting against shadow revenues of bus depots, concealment of most of the profits allowed the latter to demand an increase in the fare, justify the deterioration of their bus fleet and low staff qualification, it is the introduction of a unified transport card «Onay», despite on the active resistance of bus depots and surprisingly, part of the city's population, this card is successfully used in public transport of the city.
Previous years, the municipality actively purchased new buses using gas to improve the ecological and transport situation in the city, although it remains disputable to transfer these buses, routes and depots to a private management company.
In connection with the introduction of the unified transport card and the cancellation of official conductors on routes, another problem arose, passengers who did not pay for travel. The way out of this situation, I see the creation of mobile applications, which determines the movement of a person is higher than normal speed, and then check the GPS passenger coordinate overlay on existing routes if there is a match, automatically checks for payment in base «Onay», and the application must provide the ability to fare online, without the use of a unified transport card, encourage the use of this application can serve as additional functionality such as being able to leave feedback about the driver, discounts on travel and so on.
Despite the transfer of the urban passenger market to private hands, there is no real competition between vehicle depots, as individual routes are serviced by individual companies and the quality of the services rendered does not affect the passenger traffic in any way. At the same time, the salary of drivers, depending on the number of passengers carried, created the current House on the roads, when every bus, in every possible way, tries to fulfill the plan and transport more people in less time.
In my opinion, the only solution to this problem is the indexation of drivers' salaries not from the number of passengers transported, but from the positive feedback received from passengers, while the quality of service can be assessed in the application described by me above, or in an application similar to Uber. Also, the tender for maintenance of the route should be extended only with those bus fleets that receive positive feedback from their work from passengers.
So what are the alternatives to travel by bus?
If you are lucky to live near the metro station, then of course the ideal option is to use this type of public transport. The Metro in Almaty was put into operation relatively recently, so it can boast of clean and accurate stations and trains, there is a police control point at each station, and at the entrance to the station passengers are checked through a metal detector, which gives additional confidence in the safety of the trip. Undoubtedly, it is worth noting the speed of movement, as well as the fact that in the summer it is cool in the subway, and in winter it is warm.
As an alternative to the bus, you can use the trolleybuses. Due to its technical characteristics, it is much more difficult for trolleybuses to organize races and violate the rules of the road. Often the drivers of trolley buses are women who are more attentive to their job duties, as a rule, trolley buses are more free during rush hours.
Of course, you can not use public transport at all, for example, use a bicycle rented. Especially now the city administration is implementing the project of launching automated bicycle rental stations Almaty Bike or using taxi services. In Almaty, a lot of taxi services and private cabs, including are such services as Yandex Taxi and Uber, for more information you can find here .
The article turned out to be a series of «I'm fed up with the situation», but I tried, whenever possible, to objectively voice the problems, of course, not always everything is so terrible, there are also educated drivers and clean buses, but this is rather an exception than a rule. I hope with my article I prepared you for the problems that you can expect on the bus, and you will not be shocked by the experience. I want to believe that eventually the city administration will be able to bring order in this area of passenger transportation.