BAKU, Azerbaijan, December 7. The Azerbaijan Land Transport Agency aims to improve transportation security and digitalize the industry, Chairman of the Agency's Board Anar Rzayev said in an interview with Trend.
According to him, the Agency will regulate the full range of road transport segments – the traffic and the land transport infrastructure.
“We're talking about passenger and freight land transport in international, intracity, and intercity traffic, as well as taxi services. Reforms should relate to the entire road transport sector, primarily to passenger traffic. The bus terminal operations during the COVID-19 pandemic were disrupted due to the unprecedented rise in illegal transportation. International passenger road transport is not yet carried out due to the ongoing pandemic. The agency is aimed at further improving transportation security, as well as implementing the digital transformation of the industry," Rzayev noted.
Speaking of the bus tickets to Azerbaijan's liberated territories, he said that tickets can be purchased on the yolumuzqarabaga.az. The tickets are not available at the box office.
"The start of selling tickets are declared beforehand in the media. The cultural capital of Azerbaijan – Shusha is in the greatest demand, other districts arouse a lot of interest as well. We receive requests about new trip start dates to the liberated lands, particularly to Kalbajar and Lachin. There is a very high demand for bus services to Azerbaijan's Karabakh," the chairman stressed.
Furthermore, Rzayev revealed that around 500 trips have been carried out and up to 21,000 passengers have been transported to the liberated territories.
"Nine trips a week are being carried out to Shusha. We would like to increase the trip numbers and have all the technical capabilities for this. However, there is not just only one requirement, as security issues and completed infrastructure are also needed in this regard. The relevant work is currently underway, and the Agency is monitoring the situation," he said.
Another direction of the agency's activity, according to the chairman, is the implementation of technological and informational transformation in passenger traffic.
"The new project for online ticket sales in all directions has already been developed. The biletim.az is in test mode now. This program has already been installed at numerous bus terminals, and preparatory work and staff training have been carried out. The program is expected to be launched in the near future. Moreover, the Agency eyes establishing the AYNA information system, which will also include online ticket sales. The other day, the country launched a monitoring center offering remote control over deviations from routes, and compliance with the correct operation of trips. Thus, digital sector transformation projects are being prepared in all areas. This applies to permit issuance, the training of drivers and operators, and control functions," he said.
Rzayev said the Land Transport Agency is also responsible for regulating and ensuring the need for road transport and other road transport services, monitoring compliance with the rules and requirements of international and domestic passenger and freight transport, except for regulating and controlling passenger transport in the administrative territory of Baku city.
"Routes of approach to the capital are within our scope of regulation. We're planning to make changes to the Sumgayit-Baku route. In our opinion, transport from Sumgayit shouldn't end at the "20 January" metro station, and the final destination should be the "Bus Terminal" metro station in front of the Baku International Bus Terminal Complex. There is also a large bus hub in the station's area, where citizens can get on the intercity buses. Another difficult area for passenger traffic is the "Lokbatan circle". The agency is working to eliminate congestion and began to conduct raids in this are from October 31, 2022. We have issued more than 850 protocols on administrative offenses, and explanatory work has been carried out with a large number of drivers," the chairman added.
He also outlined the activities implemented in the field of the bus base.
"According to the results, the total number of buses in use, performing regular and irregular transport, excluding Baku city, is over 5,600. Their average age is 20 years. Of course, the bus fleet needs to be updated, since its further aging may result in stopping traffic in certain directions. It's necessary to create conditions for investments in this industry. We've already started to hold transparent tenders for all routes. Tenders are mainly opened for intercity routes and are scheduled to be announced for intracity ones in the future. We have developed a new model of intracity transportation, which affects both the financial part of the issue and the optimization of routes. Intracity transport is not only a transport issue, but also an issue of urbanism, spatial economics, and land use. Such a holistic approach will create new conditions in this area," he said.
Summing up, Rzayev underscored the price rigging issues and ways to deal with them.
"The artificially inflated fare is a violation of the passenger's rights. In this case, we issue a protocol on an administrative offense of this carrier. Taking this opportunity, I would like to address public transport users. If they are faced with similar cases, please contact the agency's hotline short number 1181 and report such cases," he added.