Transportation Concerns: Yerevan bus explosion triggers public debate

Photos: Photolure

The blast on a bus that occurred on Monday in capital Yerevan served as a ground for raising issues of public transportation in Armenia. Babken Pipoyan, the Chairman of the Informed and Protected Consumer NGO, regrets that public transport issues are reviewed only when an accident occurs.

The explosion on bus N63 occurred on April 25 in Halabyan Street, which is in Yerevan’s southwestern Ajapnyak district. Two passengers were killed and seven others were wounded in the incident. The bus worked on diesel fuel and not liquefied natural gas. Investigators say the blast occurred as a result of a trotyl explosion, but was not the result of terrorism, but rather was an explosion on “domestic grounds”.

“After the blast on the bus people immediately started to discuss the version of gas cylinder explosion, but officials were quick to deny technical malfunction of the bus. This shows that people are well informed and have a bad attitude towards the transport sector,” Pipoyan told media on Wednesday.

Henrik Navasardyan, the head of the Transport Department of Yerevan’s Municipality, after the City Council meeting, told media that since 2012 only 26 new buses have been brought to Yerevan. According to him, many routes servicing companies are bankrupt and refuse from [operating] routes.

“We announce tenders, but there are no new investors, there are no applicants. I want to tell you an impressive matter of fact: in 2005 alone, more than 500 minibuses were imported to Yerevan, and since 2012 only 26 new buses have been brought,” said Navasardyan.

Karen Chilingaryan, the chairman of the Consumer Counseling Center NGO, also said that it is possible to introduce a card payment system that exists in many countries of the world.

“New electronic timetables that have been installed in Yerevan either do not work or are not working properly.  There could have been a card system instead. Another problem is that there are no minibuses like these in other countries, and it is the main means of transportation in Armenia,” concluded Chilingaryan, adding that state institutions need to solve a number of problems.