Ufa wants to let only vaccinated people to use buses

Will QR codes appear in the public transport of the capital of Bashkiria?

Ufa wants to let only vaccinated people to use buses
Photo: ufacity.info

The public of Ufa and Sterlitamak is excited by the news about the possible introduction of anti-covid restrictions on the use of urban public transport for the unvaccinated. The townspeople are sure that it will not be possible to implement the idea. Will Ufa follow the example of Kazan? Read the details and opinions of experts in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Protecting passengers and residents of the city

The trade union of road transport workers in Bashkortostan have proposed to the authorities of Ufa and Sterlitamak to introduce mandatory verification of QR codes for passengers of urban public transport. In the letter from the leadership of the trade union organisation, it is reported that the measure will help stop the spread of the coronavirus and will protect transport workers and passengers.

“To prevent the spread of coronavirus infection and protect the health of citizens and employees of road transport, as well as to encourage residents of Ufa to get vaccinated, I propose to work out the issue with the companies engaged in passenger transportation around the city about the need for passengers to present QR codes confirming vaccination," the letter addressed to the mayor of Ufa, Sergey Grekov, says.

The chairman of the trade union, Marat Davletshin, assures that he took this step after numerous requests from bus drivers, who from the very beginning of the pandemic asked to take care of their security.

They will have to live at work

The voiced proposal did not find support among the citizens.

Dinara Khurmatullina suggests that the innovation will significantly affect the work of public transport: “If the codes are introduced, it will take much time for buses to run around the city during rush hours, until the codes are checked at each stop. They will have to live at work.”

Alsu Mukhametzyanova doubts that it will be possible to implement the initiative. According to her, the flow of people during rush hours is too large: “Don't be ridiculous, in the morning the buses are packed, who will check?"

“How long will it take them to get on the bus if everyone is thoroughly checked?" Aleksey Ivanov asks.

Citizens doubt the realism of the effective implementation of the initiative, because if it is possible to wait in line at the entrance to a shopping centre, then everything is much more complicated with public transport. The speed of movement due to inspections may slow down significantly. Most importantly, it is unclear who will be assigned the mission of checking QR codes.

There will be a social explosion

Similar questions are asked by experts in the transport sector. Natalia Teptereva, the director general of the Association of Passenger Carriers, is surprised not only by the initiative itself, but also by its source:

“We are very surprised by such initiatives from the trade union, which for many years has not made itself felt and published two or three news a month on its website, usually of a congratulatory nature. I realise that this organisation exists, but why have we only just heard about it? Is it appropriate to PR in this way now? If such measures are introduced in public transport, there will be a social explosion. To be honest, I can't imagine the procedure of using QR codes to get into public transport.”

According to Natalia Teptereva, it is unrealistic to implement the checks:

“Imagine passengers boarding a bus provided the codes are checked... Moreover, in the city of Ufa, where the situation with public transport is already very bad. On what basis, according to the norms of what law, will the driver or the conductor demand to show a passport? Or can the QR code be of any purpose?"

It is technically difficult to do and doesn't make sense

Oleg Arefyev, expert on crisis management in the field of transport, believes that the introduction of QR-code checks is not only technically difficult, but also does not make much sense:

“It does not make sense, because even it is already a generally recognised fact that immunity after vaccination is not formed immediately, that is, a person can infect and become infected, despite the presence of a code, and given that buses are absolutely packed, especially during rush hours, then it is easier to do this than anywhere else, even with a code. From a technical point of view, it is very difficult to do this. Logically, it is necessary to check them at the entrance, if there is a real task to get the effect, and not just put a tick. Considering that even if passengers voluntarily agree to present an identity document, the boarding time will increase significantly, at each stop.

According to Oleg Arefyev, in this case, travel time will increase, schedules will be disrupted, and the degree of discontent of citizens will increase. In the long term, the initiative may also hit the overall attractiveness of public transport, which is already not very high:

“Time will increase, buses will start to be late, the density of passengers will only increase in them, as well as tension and scandals. Most of them will start using taxis and private cars, which will paralyse the bottlenecks of the districts, which, alas, we have a lot. Most importantly, we need to understand that if we now reformat passenger traffic in favour of taxis and private transport, then it will be very problematic to get it back, which will deal a serious blow to the economy of transportation in the future, which is already very, very weak.”

To reduce the number of people getting infected in public transport, it is necessary to increase the number of cars on routes, otherwise ensuring at least some kind of social distance in the cabin will be an impossible task, the expert says.

Photo: proural.info

“What really needs to be done? It is critical to increase the number of buses on lines several times, to issue, for example, route maps for a year to everyone in the volume in which they ask, under the mutual obligation of carriers to close weak directions with the necessary number of buses. If you increase the number of buses on the line, you can try to provide a certain social distance in them. I would also consider creating separate buses — “clean from Covid-19", which run according to a certain schedule, in which you can check these codes, with certain amendments for the time of acquiring immunity, and which would just be intended so that pensioners could get to the hospital in them, without much risk, or those who are fanatically afraid of getting infected, and, in fact, have the right to do so. There are enough a couple of such buses on each route, putting distinctive signs on them.

At the moment, QR codes in transport in Bashkortostan are required only for travelling in intercity buses. There are no restrictions on urban routes yet. Passengers are required to wear masks and maintain social distance.

Emil Ziyangirov
Bashkortostan