Moscow introduced a new public bus system in early October. Muscovites will experience five new features:
- New buses. Newly bought cars in Mosgortrans corporate skyblue-color replace significant number of old vehicles. As far I have been observing mainly trolleybuses have been replaced.
- New routes: Several old routes covering the same main roads have been merged and renumbered. Take Leninskiy Prospekt as an example: Former bus routes 33, 64 and 84 all went from cinema center Udarnik down Leninskiy Prospekt and then to the area around Metro Station Yougo Spanaja, and even beyond. All three have been merged into the new route M4. I consider this to be a good thing, since it avoids confusion and clear-cuts the endless list of existing bus routes in Moscow.
- Semi-public Marshrutkas have been completely abolished. Both in peak hours and in late evening these seemingly licensed mini-taxis carried a significant number of passengers on the main traveling routes. Standard fare was 35 or 40 rubles, which is less than the standard fare of 50 rubles for a single ride in Metro or buses. Now they have disappeared over night.
- New social routes. There are new bus routes which intend to bring community members to social institutions like hospitals, or one stop agencies.
- New designated bus lanes. In front of Bolshoi theater for instance there is now a bus lane heading down to Okhotny riad. Before the new scheme you could only travel into direction of Lubyanka and Kitai Gorod.
At least to me the new scheme demonstrates a significant amount of innovative and error-correcting behavior within Moscow City government and administration. And it’s already the second innovation in public transport within the last six months, the first being the launch of the new Moscow Ring Railway, or Moscow Central Circle.
One costly potential improvement is still left: Installing display panels at all bus stations. Because uncertainty about the next departure, that is, waiting time, is a main source of dissatisfaction among passengers.
featured picture above: Moscow’s Kremlin in the late evening, Bus route M1 will take you there.