Almaty authorities mull restricting car access to city

24 january 2013, 15:58
Almaty authorities mull restricting car access to city - Almaty Akim Akhmetzhan Yessimov. Photo by Vladimir Dmitriyev©
Almaty Akim Akhmetzhan Yessimov. Photo by Vladimir Dmitriyev©
Almaty authorities have developed a plan to restrict access for other-cities' cars into the city. Four bus stations with parking lots for 5 thousand cars each and two stations for bus parking will be built at the border of Almaty city and Almaty oblast, reports from the meeting of Almaty Akim (Mayor) Akhmetzhan Yessimov on development of the city transport. The car parking will have a toll.

According to head of the passenger transport department Talgat Abdrakhmanov, 500 thousand cars are currently registered in Almaty. 200 thousand cars are entering the city every daily. The plan is also to install 13 ecological posts with 56 devices for checking the cars' exhaust. The authorities suggest to introduce a 26 thousand tenge ($173) fine the drivers if their car's engine emissions toxicity exceeds permitted levels and a 35 thousand tenge ($230) fine for repeated violations. They also suggest to ban trucks from accessing the city center, as they produce most of the exhaust fumes.

Besides, several parallel streets of the city will be switched to one-direction movement: this will allow to unclog narrow streets and increase driving speed. According to Abdrakhmanov, implementation of electronic ticketing in public transport will continue. Light-rail transport will be launched on Tole bi street by 2015. Almaty administration stressed that the financing issue had been solved.

Almaty Akim Akhmetzhan Yessimov said that the number of buses driving on gas had to be tripled in 2013. This requires purchasing 400 buses for the municipal fleet by the end of the year. Yessimov called private bus owners to join this project. The plan is to create the second municipal bus fleet, as well as a taxi fleet. 200 taxis driving on gas will be purchased by the end of the year. "The city has 24 bus depots, we don't need them all. We should have 5-6 bus depots with good communications and driving traditions," Yessimov said.

He also instructed the new head of Almaty Interior Department Kairat Tynybekov to control the work of the special Service Center for Car-Owners that was presented to President Nazarbayev on January 10. The Center is located in Alatau region of the city, but all citizens can get services there.

Yessimov reminded that the human factor had to be minimized, so that there is no corruption or bribery during issue of driver's licenses and re-registration of cars. The second stage of construction of Almaty subway's first line has to be completed by 2016. Akim also stressed that trams and trolley-buses fleets would be updated in 2013.

Abdrakhmanov added that Abay street will get a special public transport lane. Northern Ring Road will get a similar lane as well.

Earlier English reported that Kazakhstan President instructed to restrict car access to Almaty downtown. He emphasized that Almaty needs to opt for more environmentally friendly cars.

50 billion tenge ($333 million) will be spent on development of Almaty's transport in 2013. The local budget's share in this amount will make 12.6 billion tenge ($84 million); the remaining amount will be covered by the state budget.

By Roza Yessenkulova

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