Minnikhanov on collapse of public transport: ‘It is an outrage to wait for a bus for 40 minutes!’
“There will not be enough (new) roads in Kazan if public transport is not well established. Look, there is one, well, two people riding along the highway in each car," Rustam Minnikhanov fervently urged the leadership of the Ministry of Transport to turn their face to the development of the most massive and affordable way of transportation. The critical speech was made because of the snow collapse, which paralysed not only automobile traffic in Kazan for several days. Meanwhile, an unprecedented 250 billion rubles were “pumped” into the road construction of the republic, but more often bypassing Kazan. The republic proposes to build outbound routes on PPP terms, which means that entry and exit to the capital will soon become paid.
Tatarstan will be grown with 481 km of roads of the first category
The year 2023 has become a record year in terms of the scale of road construction in Tatarstan, head of the Ministry of Transport and Road Construction Farit Khanifov said at the annual board meeting. Almost 230 billion rubles raised from the budget of Russia were allocated for the construction of federal roads passing through the territory of Tatarstan alone.
He identified the five most significant projects. This is a section of the M12 Vostok highway with a length of 142 km, the ongoing construction of the Nizhnekamsk and Naberezhnye Chelny M7 bypass with a length of 81.5 km (includes a four-lane highway, 10 bridges, five interchanges), the approach from Naberezhnye Chelny to Bashkortostan with a length of 107 km, the Alekseevskoye-Almetyevsk toll highway with a length of 145 km is being built. And finally, the construction of the highway Bolshoy Zelenodolsk with a length of 6.6 km began last year.
The largest managing customers are Volga-Vyatskupravtodor federal state institution — 56.7 billion rubles, Avtodor state corporation — 93.3 billion rubles, Glavtatdortrans — 59.9 billion rubles, Avtostrada — 1.3 billion rubles, Tatdortransinvest JSC — 430 million rubles (that is, such funds were disbursed in 2023).
The deadline for completion of all announced projects is the end of 2024, the head of the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Tatarstan stated. To be precise, by the end of the year, traffic opens on the Alekseevskoye-Almetyevsk highway, which is being completed under the terms of a concession. The federal grant for completion amounted to 37 billion rubles. But due to that federal resources are being directed to the newly annexed regions, there are fears of a shutdown. However, Deputy Minister of Transport of Russian Vasily Tens assured that the money would be found and the commissioning should go on schedule. Moreover, the republic is negotiating with the federal authorities to repair the adjacent roads along the M5 and M7. Besides, next year, road contractors promise to put the Bolshoy Zelenodolsk highway into operation.
As a result, an additional 481 km of roads of the first category is going to appear in the republic, Farit Khanifov proudly said. We also got money for repairs — about 400 km of roads have been modernised.
By 1 million more passengers has arrived
Passenger transportation is developing at a dynamic pace. But the biggest growth occurred in air transportation, noted Farit Khanifov. Last year, Kazan International Airport served almost 1 million more passengers, becoming an aviation hub in the Volga Federal District. Currently, it has been decided to build a new terminal to receive 33 wide-body aircraft at once.
Transportation in public transport increased by only 5%, Khanifov stated. Further growth, according to him, is expected to be achieved through new purchases. So far, the supply of 119 buses has been contracted within the framework of a special treasury loan for 1.39 billion rubles allocated by the Ministry of Finance of Russia for the renewal of public transport. This year, the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Tatarstan hopes to conclude a leasing contract with GTLK for the supply of 297 buses. But there was no firm guarantee. As a backup option, Farit Khanifov suggests repairing the contact network of trams and the most mobile equipment. It turns out that the cost of trams has increased to 90 million rubles and not every city can afford to buy them. To preserve bus transportation in rural areas, the minister proposed to increase subsidies — now they are allocated only 206 million rubles, while cities — 1.9 billion rubles, he said.
People's Control complains about the poor maintenance of roads, but only the construction of new roads will not solve the problem of public transport, Human Rights Commissioner Saria Saburskaya retorted. In a short speech, she cited the sad statistics of citizens' complaints about poor road maintenance and public transport. Over the year, the People's Control system received over 32 thousand notifications, and most of them were from dissatisfied Kazan residents. According to Saria Saburskaya, over the past year they sent 15,000 notifications of complaints about unsatisfactory roads, over a thousand — about the operation of public transport.
Minnikhanov ordered to revive public transport
“There are a lot of complaints, discontent, well, that's right," Minnikhanov agreed. “It's not worth making excuses here.” According to him, the authorities were not ready to deal with the snowfall and the reason for this is the weak organisation of work. “Farit Mudarisovich, you are practically poorly engaged in public transport," said Minnikhanov. “Everyone likes to build roads, and you can see what has been done there. And here you can't see anything but problems.” He instructed to strengthen the work on establishing a rhythmic movement with each specific municipality.
“They are waiting for the bus for 40 minutes — it's an outrage!” the head of the republic was indignant. " I think that the biggest failure in the work of the ministry is on public transport. Consider these issues separately — separately for each district, for each city," Minnikhanov stressed.
The head of the republic is convinced that no matter how many new roads are built, it is impossible to do without the rhythmic operation of public transport. “There will not be enough (new) roads in Kazan if public transport is not well established. Look, there is one, well, two people in each car on the highway," he noted, pointing out that the only way to move freely on the roads is to switch to public transport.