Carrot and stick for carriers

One of the key topics of the meeting of the Presidium of the state Council on the comprehensive development of passenger transportation in constituent entities of the Russian Federation, which was held in Ulyanovsk on 22 September, was the problem of physical and moral obsolescence of the Park of passenger transport. Speaking before the state Council, President Putin emphasized the need for upgrading the fleet of passenger vehicles in the country. “One of the key issues of passenger transport is the condition of the vehicles, their physical and moral wear. Unfortunately, in recent years, the picture here is not improving, especially acute problem in rural areas. I am not going to name the figures, but they are not encouraging: the number of old vehicles increases,” — said the President.

photo: Natalia Muslinkina

About the problem of an aging fleet of passenger equipment in the country, said transport Minister Maxim Sokolov. “The quality and safety of passenger transportation depend directly on the status of vehicles used. Today in the Park city passenger transport, the share of vehicles older than ten years in the whole country is more than 50 percent. The pace of updates, unfortunately, lag behind the average level in half.”

The attention of senior government officials to the problem of fleet passenger vehicles understandable — that old vehicles, especially buses, are most likely to be involved in a major accident because of the deterioration and the malfunction of the braking system, steering and other active safety systems. Only last month there have been a number of similar accidents, including the fall of the old bus with a bridge in the Kerch Strait, which killed 19 passengers, or a scene in Karachay-Cherkessia with crashed into the wall of 18-year-old bus, which had 20 persons. In both cases, the cause of the accident was brake failure. 18 years ago the anti-lock system that could prevent such an accident, buses do not equipped with.

At the meeting of the state Council said that measures to update the fleet of passenger vehicles need to be reinforced, for example, to revise the format of state subsidies. However, as experience has shown with the update parks, school and tourist buses, monetary measures alone are not always stimulate merchants to purchase new equipment. If the municipal organization, procuring school transport, actively use the state program on preferential leasing only last year under the Federal program, the Park school buses was updated to 2.5 thousand units — that private transport companies, despite incentives to upgrade their fleets are not in a hurry. Firms that are engaged in the organization of tourist and intercity transportation, in recent years not invested in new equipment, even with the use of government programs renewal and preferential leasing allows you to save about 850 thousand rubles for the purchase of each new car.

“According to our data, more than 2 million light commercial vehicles and 60% of the fleet of passenger buses in the country are older than 10 years. Without creating conditions for replacing these machines with new equipment that meets modern requirements of ecology and safety, discussed at the state Council development of the passenger transport system, in principle, impossible,” — says Elena Matveeva, the Vice-President of “GAZ Group”, which produces most of the Russian commercial vehicles.

In General, the brands in favour of continuing in the country the state program of fleet renewal, but I think that only monetary measures, such as subsidies for the purchase of new machines, to achieve effective results is not enough. An effective tool could be regulatory measures, i.e. legislative restriction of operation of old equipment. The attempt to introduce such a restriction in respect of children’s buses, was undertaken in 2013, with the adoption of paragraph 3 of the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 1177 prohibiting the organized transport of children in buses older than ten years. But it is de jure and de facto officials faced with powerful opposition from commercial carriers that are considered unprofitable to invest in the purchase of new buses. As a result of legislative prohibition of operation of buses older than ten years by the Ministry of transport of the Russian Federation were transferred in 2013 four times already, the last delay introduced from 1 July 2017. Parents worried that their children carry on the old, breaking down on the road buses, initiated on the website a petition asking the Prime Minister to enact the new law. The signature under this document put already about 25 thousand people. On the eve of the meeting of the state Council letter to the Minister of transport of Russia Maxim Sokolov with a request to consider in the context of passenger transport, the question of the entry into force of paragraph 3 of RF Government decree No. 1177 has written to the President of “GAZ Group” Vadim Sorokin is the manufacturer thoroughly examines all the accidents involving buses in the country and knows firsthand about the consequences of operation of machinery, worn out.

The theme of the development and status of passenger transport in Russia applies to virtually every citizen — and millions of people, including the youngest, carried out in transport a significant portion of their time actually trusting the bus driver, while his own life. Are the officials to consider this fact when planning the development of the transport system in the country, is still in question.

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