Over the past several years Moscow buses, trolleys and trams erected metal turnstiles, forcing passengers to enter only at the front of the wagon. Revenues went up as hopping in the back of the bus or tram without a ticket became a thing of the past.
This past July however Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced during a transportation tour that the turnstiles would be removed, citing an official transit study which revealed that the turnstiles were causing more traffic gridlock by adding an average of 15 minutes to each route.
So it was no big surprise when Mayor Sobyanin this past Friday told Radio Echo Moscow that crews had begun the work of dismantling the metal ticket turnstiles on every Moscow bus, tram and trolley. The mayor said that limiting entry solely through the first door and the time to pass through the turnstiles had reduced the speed of buses and trolleybuses to the point that the system was too slow for transit efficiency.
When asked how buses and trolleys will maintain rider ticket control, the mayor said that drivers and additional supervisors will be responsible. (In decades past many Moscow buses were on an “honour system” with random ticket inspections by ticket control officers and cashiers.)
Sobyanin also said that Moscow would return to a “one ticket” concept where a single ticket would qualify for any mode of public transport: bus, trolley-bus, tram and metro, with the tickets available for purchase at kiosks and markets as well as Metro station cashiers. This is also a return to an earlier practice and may well give an added boost to small kiosk and market vendors.
City officials say it could take up to two years to remove the turnstiles from Europe’s largest transit system.
But at the same time that Moscow is taking down the turnstiles, the capital of Ukraine is putting them up. Citing efforts to rein in lost ticket revenue and control ridership, the city of Kyiv (Kiev) began to add turnstiles this past June and the Kyivrada (Kyiv city government) has budgeted ten million hryvnia for the project.
Perhaps Kyiv should call Moscow. We suspect that there will be some used turnstiles in good condition on the market very soon.