Taxi drivers quickly figured out how to benefit from this: pick up people from bus stops and take them to the metro.
Alexander Dybin, St. Petersburg
A branded blue Gortrans bus pulls up to a stop on one of the streets on Vasilyevsky Island in St. Petersburg. Not crowded, but a lot of people.
“Let me pass, don’t stand at the door,” grumble those who enter the bus.
The car hissed and drove on.
At the empty stop, a new portion of passengers quickly accumulates. At the traffic lights, a white Kia, the favorite car of St. Petersburg taxi drivers, famously unfolds with a familiar movement. The car parks at the stop, a middle-aged man leans out of it.
- To the subway to whom? 50 rubles to the subway.
This tone is usually met at airports: "taxi, to the city." Hearing this at a regular stop (we don’t say the name on purpose so as not to spoil a person’s business) is a real exotic. But apparently not for everyone. The peasant was already waiting and three people quickly got into the car. The Novye Izvestia correspondent also decided to take a ride.
The man deftly collects banknotes from passengers and puts them to an impressive bundle of hundreds and fifty dollars, which fits in a niche near the gear lever. He dashed off this in a couple of hours - I'm estimating how much the "walker" has already been done.
- Whoever has a bank transfer, I dictate the number, - without being distracted from the road, the man checks the receipts on the account. I peek at the screen, there are several entries in green fifty dollars - the payment went through. From the radio, as specially heard "in the lobby of the subway...". The car carries random fellow travelers just in time for the Primorskaya metro station.
- Until what time do you ride like that?
“Before lunch, sometimes until one o'clock, when people go, and in the evening at rush hour,” the man says.
- And it's cheaper than a taxi?
- It is necessary to help people, the bus, sometimes you can’t wait, rain, slush, crush, and here for 50 rubles faster and more comfortably, - the man avoids a direct answer.
He was right about the price. A bus ride to the same metro costs 60 rubles, with a plantain card - 40. But for these 10 rubles you will rush to the metro with a bullet, and you will not go through the entire area, collecting all the stops and traffic lights.
"You can also get to the metro on a scooter", - I continue to cling to the driver.
"And I'm afraid on a scooter", - the girl sitting behind the driver responds.
"And it turns out more expensive", - another passenger joins the conversation. Only unlocking the scooter costs 50 rubles, then pay more for minutes or kilometers.
“You see”, - the driver says victoriously with a cunning squint, “it looks like everything is better with me. I still take it divinely".
At this phrase, Kia made a sharp U-turn and stood at the side of the road.
"Have a nice day", - said the driver, turning on the emergency gang.
What a client-oriented, I notice to myself. The whole journey took about 4 minutes. The correspondent of Novye Izvestia made the way back on foot, which took about 35 minutes, the bus “eats up” the same amount. Some kind of Olympic slogan is spinning in my head: faster, more comfortable, cheaper.
In St. Petersburg in 2022, the transport reform began. Following the example of Moscow, minibuses were abandoned in the northern capital. Instead, they bought new buses, developed a new route network. But, apparently, somewhere they made a mistake in the calculations, because periodically there are complaints that public transport literally does not take out. So one of the hot spots was the Primorsky district. Dissatisfied citizens showed the crowds at the Artseulovskaya Alley stop, from which residents of a large residential area reach the Komendantsky Prospekt metro station. The queue for the buses is such that in order to just get into the transport you need half an hour and still hustle with the neighbors. For this, the city authorities increased the number of buses on this route.
The official group of the government of St. Petersburg was simply inundated with complaints and dissatisfied comments.
“We returned from the dacha and saw the transport reform in action”, - one of the townspeople writes, “there are two polyclinics (children's No. 70 and adult No. 121) on Kamyshovaya Street in Primorsky District, and a trauma center. They could always be reached by three buses 172, 126, 166, and the stop opposite was very convenient. Now only bus 166 has been left, which runs every 15 minutes and its route does not cover several blocks that belong to these clinics at all. The rest of the buses do not reach one stop. How to get the elderly, mothers with children to clinics, and victims to the emergency room? Why didn’t they think about sick people, about the disabled, about the old people?
To this, the transport commander gave the townswoman a typical answer: it is impossible to keep all the routes - reform.
“Unfortunately, given the funding limit, it is not possible to maintain all transport links familiar to citizens. The Committee is considering the possibility of strengthening the existing "social" routes, adjusting the routes of new routes, including the routes of closed "minibuses", which provide the most popular transport links in the absence of an alternative to travel by ground passenger transport. All of the above implies a significant increase in the burden on the city's budget”, - the officials replied.