Tatarstan Transport Ministry misses trams

“Winter is winter”

Tatarstan is preparing for winter: it seems there is machinery to clean the roads, but there is a problem with drivers, claimed Minister of Transport and Road Farit Khanifov on 23 November. However, these are little things: the republic is now spending half a trillion rubles by building federal highways: four new lanes from Kazan to Naberezhnye Chelny and six lanes to the airport await car owners. At the same time, the republic lacks just a couple of billion rubles for tram lines in Kazan and Nizhnekamsk, since this is the most efficient passenger transport, the Tatarstan Transport Ministry thinks.

The ministry assured us that the preparation for the winter period was “calm and rhythmic.” Now they have 1,157 pieces of special machinery connected to the GLONASS system. More than 550 of them are in Kazan if we believe Vice Chairman of the Committee for Urban Improvement of the Tatarstan capital Albert Ibragimov. However, as usual, there is a shortage of staff — drivers of this machinery, both in Kazan and Nizhnekamsk. At the same time, nearly 20,000 people work in the sector. The Transport Ministry agrees that a new generation of staff needs to be trained that can work with modern-day equipment (the issue is resolved particularly with YelAZ).

“We won’t risk, we will stop the traffic, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. like we used to stop the coaches. Winter is winter,” Minister Farit Khanifov summarised the seasonal topic.

The Transport Ministry continues building roads the federal centre alone allocated 11-12 billion rubles for, and another 5 billion rubles for the construction of Voznesensky Trakt.

The road programme costs 38 billion rubles. 12,2 billion rubles that was spent on road construction around three large urban agglomerations of Tatarstan — in Kazan, Naberezhnye Chelny and Nizhnekamsk (together with their districts) were given to the sub-programme Safe and Quality Roads. More than 12,5 billion rubles were used to repair the roads and 5,5 billion were to keep them.

Tatarstan misses trams, it is the most efficient transport, but there is no money

Road workers and functionaries touched on the possibility of building and repairing tram lines, not only in Kazan but also Nizhnekamsk. Citizens of Nizhnekamsk have been asking a new line from Yuzhny district to the city centre for a long time.

The functionaries admitted that Nizhnekamsk as well as Naberezhnye Chelny was designed and built “ideally.” Precisely trams were going to transport big flows of passengers in the USSR. The Nizhnekamsk tram line alone needs 1-1,5 billion rubles, the tram fleet is exhausted too.

Kazan at the moment is trying to apply for a road construction programme, but the 40-year tram system cannot be raised only with big repairs. “We are looking for solutions,” the Tatarstan transport minister acknowledged. According to Farit Khanifov, the tram cannot be replaced even with the trolleybus, not to mention the bus:

“The railway transport is the most disciplined and efficient,” he claimed.

Sergey Afanasyev