waiting for a bus to take her to work one day
last week, Yerevan resident Narineh Harutyunyan,
hardly considered that the ride could be anything
But on its way, the bus lost control from a blown
tire and the driver and one passenger were killed
and four others taken to hospital. Narineh says
the driver took the hardest part of the crash,
perhaps saving other lives while losing his.
Transportation specialists say the number of
such bus accidents is increasing, as more buses
are simply wearing out, but continue to be used
because there are no replacements.
Most Yerevan buses have been in heavy use for
more than 10 years, many on streets that, like
the buses themselves, have become worn out from
use and lack of money for repairs.
Minibuses (about 2,400) now rule Yerevan streets.
But during Soviet times some 500 buses (in addition
to electric trams) carried Yerevan passengers.
Now only 65 remain. Many of the decommissioned
form a rusting graveyard in one area of the city.
"If even in such hard financial conditions
we could find money for purchasing many buses
it would be senseless as this field works to the
detriment of itself," says head of Transport
Department of Yerevan Areg Barseghyan. "In
the future we won't have money to take care of
them." (At present the city is in debt about
$20,000 in bus-related expenses.)
Anyway some wheels of good fortune have recently
rolled into Yerevan, from France.
As a result of cooperation between Lyon and Yerevan
last week 10 Renault buses were brought to the
capital and will soon be put to use.
buses are not new, but neither are they as old
as the ones now being used. Armenia Diaspora bought
the buses for Yerevan (at a symbolic price of
1,500 Euro - about $1,360 Each).
According to Barseghyan, despite those buses
are "written-off", however, they are
in good condition and before sending them to Yerevan
they were given safety inspections and were completely
The influence of just 10 buses (each has 29 seats,
plus room for standing) will not greatly effect
the traffic mess of 2,400 minibuses, but Barseghyan
says they will at least bring a small "civilized"
A contract between Yerevan and Lyon calls for
another 30 buses to be brought here by the end
of the year.
Barseghyan says that even though the French buses
will face the same maintenance crises of the ones
they are replacing "we must be happy for
getting them, as we haven't gotten buses for approximately
He added about 13,000 citizens of Yerevan qualify
for free use of State transportation. For them,
he said, "this variant is a salvation."