Urban Public Transport Restructuring in the Russian City of Tolyatti
B Scholten, A Baanders, ECORYS Research and Consulting, NL
The city of Tolyatti in Central Russia (population 740,000), is a ?new town? and home of AvtoVAZ, Russia?s largest car manufacturer, producer of the Lada. The AvtoVAZ factory is the city?s single largest employer (offering around 100,000 jobs) and taxpayer.
Public transport in the city is provided by four different operators. Regular public transport is provided by municipal buses (?ATP-3?) and, municipal trolleybuses (?TTU?). Apart from these, there is a network of special municipal bus services for the workers of the AvtoVAZ factory (?ATP-1? which the city intends to sell), and a large fleet of private minibuses. The municipal public transport sector is characterized by a low cost recovery level and is continuously losing market share to the private minibus sector. The municipal enterprises offer cheap urban transport for specific target groups (social and educational pass holders) for which they are insufficiently compensated. The minibuses only accept full-fare paying passengers.
Almost 2/3 of the place-km are produced by the minibuses. Operated by about 40 companies (a few large and many small ones), they represent about 2/3 of the total vehicle fleet (almost 2,250 vehicles), of which more than 2,000 are estimated to operate during peak hours. In terms of vehicle trips, the minibuses represent more than 75% of the total. Their routes compete directly with those of ATP-3 and TTU, and they offer faster travel, albeit at a somewhat higher fare.
The design of the bus and trolleybus network, which was hardly changed since communist times, has a number of inefficient features, e.g. long routes that combine parts with high and low patronage but keep the same frequency over their full length, and a large number of parallel routes related to the absence of tickets that allow interchange between routes. Some new diesel buses have been introduced in recent years, but the average age is still high and for the trolleybuses it is even higher.
The present public transport concept is not sustainable from technical, financial and organisational viewpoints. In light of this situation, ECORYS has advised the city on its public transport restructuring programme. The main recommendations were:
- In order to develop a more efficient public transport system, a future public transport service concept for Tolyatti needs to be considered in which all modes and the services they provide are part of an integrated system. Decisions about one mode (e.g. ATP-3) should not be made independently of the other modes (e.g. TTU). The concept led to a number of requirements for the network design.
- Applying these design requirements to a possible public transport network plan, some important changes need to be made to create an efficiently functioning network
- A review of the current organisational and regulatory framework was carried out, from which we concluded that the organisational and legal framework in Tolyatti is not properly developed for concession based contracting in public transport.
- Notwithstanding the fact that concession based contracting for public transport services is not considered feasible to date, the future corporate structure of public transport already needs to be discussed, given the severe financial situation in which the municipal operators (ATP-3 and TTU) find themselves.
- The special network of services for AvtoVAZ workers, which only operates at the times of the work shift changes in the factory, is mostly run by ATP-1, but there are also a few special trolleybus routes of TTU. As this network only operates a few hours per day, it is difficult to make it profitable, even though it is operated with the oldest buses with almost no capital cost component. The intention to privatise this operation should be further explored.
- The intention of the city is to eventually tender all bus and trolleybus routes. But this will require extensive procedural, the institutional and organisational changes, and development of the capacities of the city staff concerned. It is doubtful whether a ?model? tender procedure can be effectively implemented in the near future.
- The recommended action and implementation programme as formulated is essential to an eventual introduction of competition through concession based contracting. However, the preparation process may take several years. In the meantime, the efficiency of the overall public transport system needs to be increased, even if there would be no prospect of tendering of routes.
In the paper, we will compare the public transport situation in Tolyatti to several relevant other cities in the region (e.g. Kaunas), and draw a few lessons for the implementation process.
Association for European Transport