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Students and pensioners may be granted transport privileges in Azerbaijan

Students and pensioners may be granted transport privileges in Azerbaijan
According to experts, it is necessary to consider different models before the system of transport privileges is applied in the country

The issue of preferential fare of students and pensioners on public transport in Baku may be considered, said Director General of the Baku Transport Agency, Vusal Karimli. 
 
He noted that in the first year of its establishment, the Baku Transport Agency analyzed current problems and steps to be taken in the necessary direction. "Problems have been identified in the form of short-term and medium-term goals. The most important issue is the renewal of bus parks. A city must be prepared for the use of pedestrians rather than cars, and public transport should be at a high level to have fewer private vehicles. Therefore, parking lots and public transport must be more accessible. Work is underway in this direction. The agency seeks to create Baku standards,” Karimli said. 
 
The director of the agency said that the requirements for buses will be revealed in the near future. "Both the internal and external design, as well as the technical specifications of the vehicles, and most importantly, security issues are in the spotlight,” he noted.
 
According to Karimli, the issue of preferential fare of students and pensioners on public transport in Baku may also be considered. "Now BakıKart is used almost in 150 buses. Preparations are underway for the transition to the card system in all buses. It is difficult to say the exact date, but after the completion of these preparations, the use of student and pension cards for bus travel can be coordinated and implemented with the relevant structures,” he said. 
 
Transport privileges for certain categories of population have been previously applied in our country. But the point is that the cases of abuses at that time were too much. How will this privilege mechanism be regulated this time?
 
According to expert on transport issues, Arshad Huseynov, these privileges are applied in various countries in the world. "In some countries, people who live in a city permanently have some benefits in contrary to those who came temporarily, as these persons live in that city and use public transportation every day. Now, this issue is on the agenda, and this is a positive case. But first of all, public transport must proceed to the card system as a whole. Otherwise, it will be difficult to know who is able to use the privileges, and certain problems may occur. Students and pensioners can be provided special transportation cards with funds allocated from the state budget or special funds account. I think that such a mechanism can be applied in our country. This issue must be approved at the government level and in legislation. It should be identified to whom the privileges will be applied and what they will include. Moreover, documents required to benefit from these privileges must be provided. This is important for the inclusion into a single database. Different methods may be used to prevent negative situations. For example, a single electronic database can be created to prevent the issuance of those cards to others by using simple mechanisms. At the same time, control and inspection should be carried out regularly,” Huseynov noted. 
 
Economist MP Azer Badamov said the fact that the preferential fare on public transport has been put on agenda is pleasant. "It is important to apply transport privileges for students and pensioners. Such privileges are not uncommon in international practice. Students are provided with special cards which they use in public transportation. There is no change in our country’s legislation regarding this issue yet. But such a proposal can be realized in 2019. We have enough financial means for this. The key issue is the development of a mechanism for making certain privileges to the use of public transport by students and pensioners. Students do not have any income and live under parental care. I think it is very important to apply privileges on public transport to this stratum of the population,” the MP added.  
 
According to expert on transport issues, Azer Allahveranov, the transport privileges should be made for low-income families, pensioners and students. "I have repeatedly put forward different proposals on this issue. Developed countries already have such types of privileges. Various systems are applied in this regard. I think these privileges can be applied in Azerbaijan as well. This is in fact a kind of social responsibility. True, the approach to this issue is not unambiguous. Different models should be considered before the system is applied. Companies should know what the state support will be in this area. Moreover, a single approach to the issue should also be formed. After that, companies that carry out passenger service can make their own decision. We live in a market economy, and there are separate carrier companies. The benefits of each company may not be sufficient to apply such discounts. Therefore, the activities of companies should be profitable. Relevant agencies should act from a single position regarding this issue. Cases of abuse can be easily avoided. This mechanism must work as a single system. In this case, negative cases will be completely eliminated,” the expert concluded.  
 
Shabnam Mehdizade
 
 


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