Urban public transport in post-communist transition: the case of Tashkent, Uzbekistan.INTRODUCTION
The late 1980s and early 1990s brought about a historical transformation to the people of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, both politically and economically. The fall of the Eastern Bloc meant a greater scope for market relationships in economic management of these countries. The pace and degree of liberalization varied from country to country, from relatively high levels in Eastern Europe to lower levels in the southern republics of post-Soviet Central Asia. This economic and political transformation resulted in great changes for the transport of goods and people. All countries have experienced growth in private car ownership with less reliance on public transport and changes in ownership of transport companies, and the growth in international trade has meant that significant changes have taken place in the direction and quantity of goods transported (Pucher and Buehler, 2005).
This post-communist transition has only had a limited coverage from the transport literature, and there has been virtually no focus on the countries and cities of Central Asia (eg Hall, 2010; Taylor and Ciechanski, 2008). This paper intends to contribute towards closing the existing gap in the literature by examining policies of urban transport development in the capital of Uzbekistan - Tashkent. Tashkent is the largest city in post-Soviet Central Asia with a population of 2.3 million people living in an area of 334.6[km.sup.2]. (1) The city contributes approximately 14% to Uzbekistan's GDP and has a well-developed transport infrastructure (Tashkent City Council, 2010). Figure 1 presents the map of Uzbekistan with Tashkent located in the north-eastern corner of the Republic.
The process of transition to the market economy in Uzbekistan, as elsewhere has faced two main political economy constraints, ex ante acceptability and ex post reversibility (Rodrik, 1993; Akimov and Dollery, 2008). Unlike some individual countries, which chose to solve both constraints by applying a 'shock therapy' approach, Uzbek policy makers methodically applied a more gradual approach taking into consideration potential socio-political consequences. In case of urban public transport in Tashkent that meant that the liberalization/privatization effort was only directed to the taxi/shuttle taxi sector, but not to buses and the underground, as policy makers wanted to ensure public transport continued to function. At a later stage, the policy makers showed a similar approach when some negative consequences of poorly enforced regulations in taxi market (such as congestion, pollution, tax evasion) became apparent. The lack of will to deal these problems can be attributed to a concern over the significant socioeconomic consequences for the numerous taxi drivers and their families that rely on the income from transportation services.
The paper has four main sections. The next section traces the emergence of organized public transport and its development before independence in 1991. The subsequent section examines post-independence development, and it reviews policies that authorities have undertaken in an effort to reform the urban transport system. The developments of each major mode of transport are then looked at in detail. A discussion of the outcome of the policy reforms provides the central part of the paper, where the general trends of development and their socio-economic and environmental impacts are identified. The paper concludes with some policy recommendations.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
MUNICIPAL PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN TASHKENT BEFORE INDEPENDENCE IN 1991
Early developments of passenger transport in Tashkent
Horse and donkey-drawn vehicles have traditionally provided the main forms of transport in Tashkent and other parts of Central Asia. The first changes took place shortly after the occupation of the region by the forces of the Russian Empire. The construction of the first rail line--Trans-Caspian military railway commenced in 1880 and was completed by 1899. In the following year, construction of the Orenburg-Tashkent railway started to the north and this line was completed by 1906.
With the growth of the city of Tashkent, its city council decided to introduce a tramway system as a new means of public transport. In 1896, the council signed a contract with Societe Generale de Belgique to build a tram railway network and to establish Tashkent Tram Society to operate the network. By 1901, the construction of 11km of tramway was completed and two routes with horse-drawn trams started operation. In the first year of operation, horse-drawn railway transported over one million passengers. However, limited potential for expansion of the horse-drawn tram system and its low profitability pushed the company into looking at other options. Thinking was influenced by the successful operation of electric trams in some other Russian cities (Mogilev, Vitebsk, Orel and Kazan), and this contributed to the choice made for Tashkent. In 1907, agreement was reached between Societe Generale de Belgique to replace horse-drawn trams with electric trams and to expand the existing tram network. The construction of 26.5 km of tramway network was completed on 30 December 1912, and the operation of the electric trams commenced. At the time, the Tashkent Tram Society had 50 lead and 20 trailer coaches at its disposal with a capacity of 40 persons each (Merzlov, 2009; Sharahmedov and Gulyamov, 2006; Viknyanskaya et al., 2001).
At the time of the Soviet revolution, the development of the tram transport system stalled and in 1918 the transport of passengers stopped. In 1919, new municipal managers decided to revive tram transport in the city, and in 1921 trams recommenced their operations. The tram network and operations rapidly developed over the years preceding Great Patriotic War, and by 1941 the network length had reached 112.5km. In this same year, 220 million passengers and 243 million tons of goods were transported on this system. After the war, development of the tram system continued, and by 1968 the length of the network was 182 km, and by 2000 it had reached 288 km (Sharahmedov and Gulyamov, 2006; Viknyanskaya et al., 2001).
Buses appeared in Tashkent for the first time in 1909. They were privately owned and were used for contractual transport. A year later, the first eight- seater bus started regular service in the city. Operations on a larger scale took off much later, with the establishment of the first truck, bus and car depot and this linked in with the production of Soviet-made vehicles. Trolleybuses began operation in Tashkent in 1947, with the commencement of the regular route between railway terminals 'North' and 'Old Market'. By 1963, the network had reached 82 km and 10 trolleybus routes were in operation in Tashkent (GorElectroTrans, 2010; Viknyanskaya et al., 2001).
The development of organized taxi transport began in the 1930s. A number of Soviet and foreign produced cars were part of the fleet of Tashkent AutoBaza #1 (Tashkent Automotive Depot #1). However, taxi operations really took off with the arrival of the first mass produced Soviet taxi cabs (GAZ M-1) in 1937 (Sharahmedov and Gulyamov, 2006). It is unclear exactly which year shuttle taxis (marshrutnoe taxi or marshrutka) started operation in Tashkent. Initially, these operations were conducted by the normal taxi fleet. Instead of the trip fare being based on the distance traveled, these taxis charged a fare based on per person per zone principle. The taxis were normally shared by a number of passengers. The operations, similar to their current form, started in the early 1960s with the mass production of 10-seater Soviet minibuses (RAF 677).
Shuttle taxis in the Soviet Union were a hybrid mode of transport that shared some commonalities with the ordinary taxi and bus operations. Each shuttle taxi had a fixed route on which they had to drive, which was set between two terminal points where they had records entered into their log books by dispatchers, and they had to follow a set frequency of service. However, unlike buses and like ordinary taxis, shuttle taxis were allowed to stop and pick up or discharge passengers at any point along the route where ordinary taxis would be allowed to stop. Shuttle taxis were not allowed to deviate from their set route, even at a passenger's request.
The development of the Tashkent underground system started much later in 1971. The decision to build the Tashkent underground was carried by the Soviet government in response to rapid expansion of the city, both in terms of population and territory. At that time the population of Tashkent was well over one million people. The first part of the underground line (named Chilonzor) consisted of nine stations and was put into operation on 6 November 1977. Another three stations on this line were completed in 1980. The building of the second line (Uzbekistan) started shortly afterwards. The first part of the second line has been in operation since 1984, and the construction of the line was completed in 1991 (Fayzullaev, 2001; Sharahmedov and Gulyamov, 2006).
State of municipal public transport at independence
At the time of dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Tashkent had a fairly well-developed public transport network. It consisted of:
* Two lines of the underground with 23 stations and a total length of 31 km. There were 156 passenger coaches located in two underground depots.
* Two tram, two trolleybus and one joint tram-trolleybus depots with a total number of 531 trams and 418 trolleybuses. There were 20 tram and 25 trolleybus routes that extended over 288km and 300km, respectively.
* Twelve bus companies with a total of 2,243 buses working on 128 city and five suburban routes, (2) as well as 314 minibuses serving 25 shuttle taxi routes. The total length of the bus and shuttle taxi routes extended over 2,240 km.
* Five taxi companies with total fleet of 3,355 taxis.
* Suburban trains traveling in three major directions (Sharahmedov and Gulyamov, 2006; Viknyanskaya et al., 2001).
The network has been managed by three entities: (i) automotive transport (ie buses, shuttle buses and taxis) was managed by the Directorate GlavTashPassAvtoTrans, an entity under the Ministry of Automotive Transport; (ii) trams and trolleybuses were managed by the Tashkent Tram and Trolleybus Directorate under the Ministry of Communal Services; (iii) the underground was managed by the Tashkent Underground Directorate under the Ministry of Rail Transport. There was also the Central Traffic Control Office and a number of other support organizations.
The management of public transport in Tashkent was very much in line with the command style of administrative management, typical of the whole of the Soviet economy. The investment in transport infrastructure and new vehicles was in line with 5-year plans. For example, new buses were initially transferred to the ownership of GlavTashPassAvtoTrans, which then distributed them among bus companies according to the previously set plan. The request for new routes, vehicles, maintenance equipment and staff were considered by the State Planning Committee (GosPlan), and decisions were made on their merits and other relevant factors.
As all municipal transport operations except taxis and shuttle taxis were loss-making, a system of cross subsidies existed. The surplus accumulated by taxi companies would be directed to balance the deficit of bus companies. In the event of an overall loss for GIavTashPassAvtoTrans, the system of debt write-off existed where the debt of bus companies to petrol suppliers was written off. A similar system existed with electric transport operators where the outstanding debt of tram, trolleybus and underground operators to electricity suppliers used to be written off to ensure the overall balance of the accounts.
Naturally, there was no competition between transport companies in the market economy sense, where bus operators had to fight for their survival. However, it was common to compete for the better qualitative indicators such as reliability, efficiency and customer service. For example, Tashkent Taxi Company #2 was recognized among the top two taxi operators in the former Soviet Union on a number of occasions where they challenged the position of Taxi Company #1 in Moscow, as the leading taxi operator in the Soviet Union. Each transport operator reported their operational results on a monthly basis (and even on a daily basis for some indicators). A system of rewards, both financial and non-financial, was in place to incentivize high-performing operators.
In 1990, the fare on municipal public transport was 5 kopeykas per trip (0.05 rouble) on buses and the underground, 4 kopeyakas per trip on trolleybuses and 3 kopeykas per trip on trams, 20 kopeykas per trip in a shuttle taxi, and 20 kopeyka per kilometer (plus 20 kopeyka upfront 'sit down' fee) for the taxis. (3) There were monthly passes available for sale. Various groups, such as school-aged children and students in vocational and tertiary education, and pensioners had discounts for full-fare monthly passes. In contrast, there were no discounts for single trip fares. There were also selected social welfare groups, such as a number of categories for disabled people, police, soldiers, etc, for whom public transport was free of charge.
DEVELOPMENTS SINCE INDEPENDENCE
Structural reforms since 1992 and legislative support
The development of municipal transport in Tashkent has been very much in line with the general direction of economic developments towards a market economy. However, as was specifically emphasized by Uzbek authorities on numerous occasions, development was to take a gradual path to avoid economic and social shock (Karimov, 1993, 1995). A similar approach was taken to reform in the public transport sector in Tashkent, in which three stages can be identified (Akimov and Dollery, 2009). The first stage took place from 1992 to 1996 and started with the introduction of a single institution to manage public transport. Little to no attempt was made in this period to engage private operators in the delivery of transport services. The second stage commenced in 1996 with attempts to license municipal passenger transport, the introduction of a tendering process and the gradual involvement of the private sector. This stage lasted until 2006. In the final stage, there are two potentially competing structures that were established, with the task of managing and regulating passenger transport in Tashkent.
The starting point of reforms to the municipal transport system in post-Soviet Tashkent is the President's Decree # UP-425, dated 4 June 1992 and titled 'On the Improvement of Passenger Transport Management in the City of Tashkent'. Under this decree, the State Association of Passenger Transport Enterprises (TashGorPassTrans) was established. It combined in one entity the former Tashkent Tram and Trolleybus Directorate, the Tashkent Underground (Metro), and the Directorate GlauTashPassAvtoTrans. The association has been granted very high status in the power hierarchy, with the chairman of the board of the association ranked equal in rights with a minister of the cabinet.
It should be mentioned that the first stage in the process of deregulation and privatization in Uzbekistan commenced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and this had an impact on the organizational structure of some companies under the supervision of the association, but not on the association itself. In fact, the process of privatization of municipal public transport taken off as a result of the adoption of the 1991 Act 'On Denationalization and Privatization'. Plans were drawn up to gradually sell off the state's stake in taxi and then bus companies to non-government firms and individuals. Most of the taxi enterprises were quickly converted into joint-stock companies and shares were issued. However, at the initial stage of privatization, the state retained control over the enterprises maintaining the majority stake in them. Other shares were either sold to companies' employees or offered for open sale. Later the state's threshold for taxi companies (as well as for some service and maintenance companies) was reduced to 26%. To ensure participation of employees in the privatization process, companies paid part of the bonuses in the form of shares rather than in cash, so that they could achieve the government set target of 49%. As is evident from Table 1, the state was able to reduce its stake to 26% in four out of five taxi companies.
However, attempts to privatize the bus companies were less successful (Table 2), since (i) all the companies were loss-making and no well-defined structure existed to compensate for the losses incurred by the companies; (ii) the government offered only a minority stake for sale (49%) and was actively intervening in the affairs of the companies. The government was pushing company managers to use the tactic of paying bonuses in the form of shares, but with little success, as no dividends were expected on those shares. Moreover, the government continued purchasing vehicles for the bus companies, thereby raising its stake in the equity of the companies, and this had a dilution effect on employees' holdings. No plans existed to sell the electric transport (train and trolleybus) operators and the underground railway system.
The association functioned with no significant change in its duties until 1996, when its status was somewhat downgraded by a Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers #291 'On Measures for Significant Improvement of Passenger Transport Services for Residents of the City of Tashkent'. The association was placed under the direct supervision of the Tashkent City Council, and the association's chairman given the status of First Deputy Mayor of the city. In the same resolution, the dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in Tashkent's urban transport was noted, including the lack of success in the privatization of bus companies, the reduction in overall fleet numbers, and the decrease in service reliability. It is clear that the state continued to get involved in activities of all registered transport providers under the umbrella of the association (whether state or privately owned) by administering performance reviews of senior and middle-level managers of those enterprises.
In response to the critique, in 1996-1997, the plan for improvement of passenger transport was adopted, where sale of minority stakes (49%) was envisaged by the end of 1997. There is no surprise that this change was again unsuccessful, as the operating environment remained unchanged. Another significant piece of legislation adopted in 1996 was the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers #175 'On Approval of Regulations for Licensing of Activity on Transport and Communication Sector'. A committee under the Cabinet of Ministers was established to issue licenses for automotive transport providers. Initially, only legal entities were subject to licensing requirements. This marks the beginning of the second stage of urban public transport in the city of Tashkent. Before that, the increasing number of private transport providers (particularly individual transport carriers) was a part of the informal market for transport services. Since these private providers carried much smaller regulatory burden, they were suitable competitors to public companies.
In 1998, a legislative basis for competitive tendering was adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers in its Resolution #350. Moreover, the power to grant licenses for passenger transport was transferred to the newly established Uzbek Agency for Automotive and River Transport. Between 1998 and 2000, 163 routes were tendered, in which 14 state-owned companies, two private companies and 47 groups of individual transporters participated (Sharahmedov and Gulyamov, 2006). Bus routes were almost exclusively granted to state-owned companies, and private companies and groups of individual transport companies won the majority of shuttle taxi routes. In reality there was practically no competition for the bus routes as state-owned enterprises bid exclusively for their 'own' routes.
In 1999, the Cabinet of Ministers in its Resolution #513, adopted the Strategy of Development of Municipal Passenger Transport for 2000-2005. Among other measures, it envisaged the establishment of a new management structure to look after tram and trolleybus depots, to complete the sales of yet unsold shares of transport companies (including bus companies), to sell bus stops to private investors, and to establish a fund for the support of municipal public transport. Moreover, attempts were made to regulate taxi transport with a compulsory registration requirement, the equipping all cabs with taxi meters, and the provision of special recognizable number plates. The plans were set to improve the ticketing system across all sorts of public transport with the introduction of smart cards on the underground and pre-sale of tickets for buses/trams/trolleybuses. The initial stages of the construction of the third (Yunousabad) underground line were set for completion in 2001 and 2003, and the construction of the fourth line (Sergeli) was set to commence in 2005. With the forecast of rising demand for public transport, the state's support in purchasing a new fleet was documented in the strategy. Moreover, in the effort of cutting administration costs, TashGorPassTrans was asked to provide proposals for merging some bus companies and tram and trolleybus depots, hr the following years, no new significant documents relating to municipal public transport were issued, but rather progress towards the implementation of the existing plans was considered the main priority.
In line with the strategy, the Ministry of Finance in 2000 adopted a directive on financing municipal transport providers in the city of Tashkent. Effectively, bottom line losses incurred by the companies from urban public transport (with the exception of taxis and shuttle taxis) were set to be covered in the national budget based on the earlier forecasted values. Moreover, the state continued to purchase bus replacements for those companies. Bus companies had to record these purchases in their books as 'in-kind' contributions to shareholders' equity and the existing non-government's shareholders equity stakes were therefore diluted.
The most recent stage of reforms in urban passenger transport in Tashkent commenced in 2006 with the adoption of new regulations. A Presidential Decree on 'On Further Improvement of Organizational System of Passenger Transport in Tashkent' was issued. The role of TashGorPassTrans, which was renamed ToshShaharTransXiznzat, was significantly diminished. It was set to deal predominately with state owned and state controlled organizations, whereas an additional structure was established within the Tashkent City Council to coordinate all types of transport providers in Tashkent. This additional entity was titled the Department of Licensing and Coordination (DLC) of All Types of Transport in the City of Tashkent. In addition, the structure of TashGorPassTrans has changed, and new intermediate management levels have been established: ToshAvtobusTrans--to look after bus companies, ToshElectroTrans--to supervise electric transport, and ToshRemServis- -to coordinate all related service stations and centers.
All management units related to public transport were effectively put in the same building. Although, the DLC is supposed to supervise ToshShaharTransXizmat, in practice this is not necessarily the case. The Chairman of ToshShaharTransXizmat remains a deputy mayor and maintains a strong organizational structure and management capabilities, whereas the head of DLC is also a deputy mayor, but this department is relatively new and its structural capacity has yet to be built. Moreover, there is some overlap in the function of the two organizations, and this does not assist in effective and efficient management of urban transport in Tashkent.
Developments of passenger transport by modes of transport
Over the passage of the 18 years since independence, the way in which different modes of transport in Tashkent operate has changed, although the scale of such change has varied dramatically. The way in which the underground, trains and buses worked in 2010 was very similar to the way they worked before independence, although there have been some changes in terms of network, quantity and quality of vehicles. However, the evolution of taxi and shuttle taxi operations has been rather spectacular.
The network of routes and the fleet have had some changes over the past 20 years, although it is impossible to trace changes in the network in detail, as there is no data available for 1990. However, it is possible to look at the composition of the urban passenger transport fleet. Table 3 provides information on the fleets of companies under the supervision of ToshShaharTransXizmat and estimates of the number of private providers.
The fleet numbers of almost all modes of publicly owned transport have declined during the past 19 years. The exception is the underground, where fleet size has increased since the introduction of the new line. Particularly badly affected were state-owned taxi/shuttle taxi operators, whose numbers have dramatically declined. This decline is more than offset by rise in number of private operators. Estimates for the private shuttle taxi fleet provide a figure of approximately 2,000 vehicles, whereas the regular taxi fleet is thought to consist of well over 20,000 vehicles (Krymzalov, 2008). As a result total number of vehicles on the roads, which provide passenger transportation services has risen by more than threefold.
Together with a quantitative shift in the fleet, there was a considerable qualitative change. Average size of the vehicle has declined mainly due to the shift from larger buses/trams and trolleybuses to shuttle taxis and taxis but also due to smaller average size of buses on roads. As a result total capacity of passenger transport in Tashkent has risen about 33% (approximately from 122,295 to 163,110 seats). With steady population numbers in the city, the urban transport supply has improved. The quality and comfort of the vehicles has naturally improved with technological progress. The makes and origins of the vehicles also look very different in 2009 in comparison with 1990 (Table 4).
Ticketing on trams, trolleybuses and buses has not changed since Soviet times. Fares are collected either by the driver upon exit of passengers through the front door or by a fare collector operating on the vehicle. Fares are collected either during the passenger's journey or during stops. Passengers are provided with a paper ticket. Monthly passes can also be purchased in advance (strictly on per calendar month basis) and normally combine all trips on trams, trolleybuses and buses (bus only passes are also sold). For three categories of passengers, namely school students, college/university students or pensioners, these passes are sold at a discount. In 1991, the size of discount was 53% for pensioners, 67% for students and 73% for pupils. However, these were gradually reduced and have been set at 50% for all three categories. Neither operators, nor the association receives direct compensation for selling these passes at a reduced price. However, since the national government compensates ToshShaharTransXizmat for their overall loss, this can be seen as a case of indirect subsidy. Finally, as regulated by the 1996 Act 'On Approval of Free of Charge Users of Urban Public Transport', there are some categories of passengers (eg Great Patriotic War veterans or disabled people) who cannot, on presentation of appropriate documents, be charged a fare on any state run public transport. A fare per trip (entry) is the same for buses, trams, trolleybuses and metro and this fare is approved by the Anti-Monopoly Committee upon the request of ToshShaharTransXizmat. The dynamics of the fare price is presented in Table 5.
The underground is perhaps the mode of public transport that has evolved the least over the period. The governance structure changed somewhat in 1992, when supervisory duties over the Tashkent Metro were transferred from the Ministry for Rail Transport to TashGorPassTrans. Another significant change was the construction of a third line of the underground, with its six stations opened in 2001. The work did not continue due to lack of funding from the national budget, even though that money was committed under the 1997 Act 'On Urban Passenger Transport'. The primary goal of linking the busy Yunousabad district of Tashkent with the city center was only partially achieved, and three stations have not yet been built so that the northern part of the line can be completed. Moreover, work on the planned Sergeli line has never commenced, although one may question the decision to build a metro in this area, as a preferable option may be to consider better coordination with the existing suburban railway line. Other options such as a light rapid tram system may also be considered.
All underground stations have been built with great architectural vigor and are beautifully decorated, showcasing the excellent artistic and designing abilities of Uzbek architects. However, the construction of such stations is a costly exercise, which negatively impacts on the ability of the government to complete existing projects and expand the underground network in the future.
Ticketing on the underground has not changed substantially from before 1990, except for the fact that 5-kopeyka coins have been replaced by purpose- built plastic coins to ensure longer life in an inflationary environment. Fares are set by the government and are sold at the entrance to underground, solely on a per trip basis. An attempt to introduce monthly passes and smart cards was withdrawn on financial grounds. The number of passengers transported and vehicle capacity utilization rate have been falling in recent years due to the removal of the monthly passes and competition from other modes of transport. On the contrary, improved fleet utilization rate and tighter control of expenses allowed the underground to increase the proportion of expenses recovered by the revenues, and therefore reduce the level of government's subsidy. (4) However, it is yet to reach positive profitability recorded in 1996 (see Table 6).
The tram services have evolved gradually since 1990. There have been changes in fleet size and route network but the management of operations has changed little. The management structure was altered by the 1992 Resolution, which shifted tram operators (depots) to the responsibility of TashGorPassTrans. Over time, and in particular with the construction of the third metro line, there was a considerable change in the role played by the trams and consequently their route network. City planners decided to move trams away from most of the city center as well as from where the tram lines overlapped with underground lines. The new role of the trams was to bring passengers from the outskirts of the city, where there is no underground, to nearby metro stations or towards boundaries of the city center. In 2001, to reduce the costs of managing a smaller fleet, Tram Depot #1 was closed and the remaining vehicles and staff transferred to two other depots.
As evident in Table 7, the performance of tramways in 2000s reflects those changes with the dramatic reduction of number transported passengers and vehicle capacity utilization. Fleet utlization has improved whereas level of public subsidy was generally in 20%-30% range.
According to a ToshShaharTransXizmat official, tram services will continue to operate in Tashkent, with rapid tram services to Sergeli district being a possibility (Krymzalov, 2008). Moreover, according to a recent 2009 Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers 'On Renewal of Electric Passenger Transport', there are major maintenance works scheduled on some existing routes, and the purchase of a new fleet is expected.
The role of trolleybus services in Tashkent has been diminishing over the last 18 years. The number of routes in operation, as well as their length and fleet, has been gradually reduced. Although in the 1990s newer, better quality trolleybuses were purchased which worked well for the passengers, the high maintenance costs of relevant infrastructure caused a decline in the number of services in operation. Being less reliable and slower than buses, and indeed shuttle buses, they have been losing the competition for passengers in recent years with number of passengers transported dropping 40-fold over the period 1992-2009. As a result, losses were rapidly rising. The level of subsidy for trolleybuses operators has exceeded 50% every year since 2003 and climbed to over 70% in 2008-2009. This compares poorly to the <30% subsidy level for trams and buses. The performance of trolleybuses is presented in Table 8.
The fate of trolleybuses in Tashkent was sealed by the 2009 Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers 'On Renewal of Electric Passenger Transport', where the decision was made to gradually phase out trolleybus operations in Tashkent by the end of 2010, and to replace them with locally produced midi buses to operate the same routes.
The bus services in Tashkent over the last 18 years have remained the most important element of state-owned passenger transport. Its share of buses in the overall number of passengers transported by state-owned operators has increased to 77% in 2009. Despite a decline in fleet size, the number of routes has not declined. The number of passengers transported has risen in 1992-2000, only to decline in the subsequent decade. The reason for the overall decline in the number of passengers transported seems likely to lie in two main areas. Firstly, buses face fierce competition from more flexible private shuttle-taxi operators, and secondly, there has been a consistent rise in number of privately owned cars in the city of Tashkent. Performance of the state-owned bus companies has followed the general pattern with fleet utilization rates gradually rising, vehicle capacity utilization rising in 1992-2000 and then declining under the pressure of competition. The losses have risen (in real terms) to peak in 2006 but then gradually declined with tighter cost management. Similarly, government subsidies have dropped to under 20% in 2009 (Table 9).
The government frequently voiced its desire to sell all but one bus company with the aim of reducing subsidies to public transport. This was expected to come from the improved operating efficiency of private providers. However, these attempts failed due to a lack of interest from potential investors to take on the burden of loss-making enterprises. As the national government continued interfering in the bus companies' affairs, investment would yield no dividend and there would be a capital loss for any investor. Moreover, no new private bus operators (5) sustained competition with public operators, as the tendering process was very limited and as the high level of subsidies to public operators continued. The national or local authorities purchase fleets for the companies, provide substantial tax preferences and recover any bottom line losses at the end of the financial year.
In contrast to all the conventional modes of transport covered so far, the shuttle taxis have seen a dramatic turnaround in the way their services operate. In particular, there were significant changes in terms of ownership, number of routes and services, vehicle brands and taxation. Since the passage of legislation in the early 1990s on privatization and deregulation, the government-owned operator (RAF--see Table 4) started to lease out and eventually sold off all their older vehicles. As new vehicle arrivals were rather limited, the size of RAF's fleet and consequently the number of services operated by government-owned vehicles has declined dramatically. In the meantime, new owners of minibuses, chiefly individual drivers, began to group together to undertake shuttle taxi services. Since no legislation existed on the licensing of such operations, they formed a so-called 'shadow' market of transport services. Often, shuttle taxi drivers were confronted by bus drivers whose clientele was undermined by shuttle taxis.
Slowly the government brought in some regulations to control shuttle taxi services by requiring approval by TashGorPassTrans for the routes on which they could operate. Shuttle taxis formed the Association of Private Transporters to assist them with this process. In the early to mid 1990s, public transport worked at full capacity and therefore it was relatively easy to get routes and services approved. That is because TashGorPassTrans considered shuttle taxis as complementary rather than competing services to existing government transport system. The difference in fares on buses and shuttle taxis was sizeable, and each mode served a specific niche in the market.
Over time, however, the situation has continued to evolve in the direction of reregulation of shuttle taxi services. More legislation was brought in on licensing and taxation, and as well, stronger supervision from TashGorPassTrans and later the DLC can be observed. At the same time, the number of vehicles operating shuttle taxi services has grown steadily to the current level of around 2,000 vehicles.
Today, approximately 150 shuttle taxi routes are operated predominately by 'one route' companies. Most of those companies do not own any vehicles, as individual drivers lease their vehicles to such companies for free (or for a notional amount) and in return they are employed by the company for the minimum allowable wage (6) to operate their own vehicle. Vehicle owners/ drivers are responsible for maintenance and petrol costs, and they should deliver set but modest cash revenue to the company on a daily basis. The fares the drivers collect in excess of their costs form their own profit, and this excess cash revenue is unreported and therefore untaxed.
With the adoption of new regulations, shuttle taxis have lost some control over the fares they charge. All fares now require approval from the State Anti-Monopoly Committee and the Ministry of Finance, which seem to have a policy of restricting profiteering among shuttle taxi operators by restraining their fares growth. As a consequence, the fares shuttle taxis charge became very competitive against other modes of transport. This has led to an increase in the number of cash-paying passengers (7) using shuttle taxis, often at the expense of government operators (buses, underground and trams).
The ordinary taxi market has also changed dramatically since 1990. Government operators leased and sold most of their vehicles by the mid 1990s. Many of these, as well as other privately owned cars, became taxi operators. Some of these operators drive their cars as taxis full-time, whereas others drive them part-time or on a casual basis to supplement their income. Former taxi companies were initially privatized but later virtually ceased to exist as taxi operators, instead using their infrastructure (land and equipment) for other services such as vehicle service and repair shops.
Two types of taxi drivers have emerged. The first group is professional taxi drivers who use their own or rented cars to deliver taxi services. For them, driving a taxi is a major (if not the sole) source of income, and to generate a decent income these drivers have to work at least 40 hours a week. There is also a large group of so-called 'hobby taxi drivers', who use their own cars on weekends or after normal working hours to supplement their income. In contrast to professional drivers, hobby drivers are normally more flexible in the fares they charge, but they prefer to stick to the areas and routes close to homes or to pick up passengers along the normal work-home routes. It is difficult to accurately estimate the number of taxi operators but figures up to 50 thousand are quoted when hobby drivers are taken into account. This represents around one-sixth of around 300,000 cars registered in Tashkent in 2009.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that in many cases, just raising your hand would cause a few cars stop and offer taxi services. The fares that drivers charge are unregulated and based solely on individual agreement between a driver and a passenger, and they are normally very competitive. Frequently, it is cheaper for two or three individuals to take a taxi instead of using public transport. In recent times, some of the taxi operators have started to use taxi call centers' services to assist them with their clientele. In addition, a number of small private companies have now entered the market.
With respect to the licensing of taxis, some new regulations have been introduced by the Uzbek government since the end of the 1990s, but these regulations are not enforced. As of early 2010, any car meeting regular technical inspection requirements could be used as a taxi. Initially relatively mild requirements became rather burdensome over time with increased competition in the market. As of 1 January 2011, to meet regulatory requirements, an owner/driver must obtain a license to use their vehicle as a taxi, and this license costs the equivalent of 75 US dollars (USD) (for cars with passenger seats of 4 and less) or 125 USD (for cars with passenger seats over 4) per annum. Moreover, the owner/driver has to register with the Taxation Inspectorate as an 'individual entrepreneur without establishing legal entity' and pay a monthly tax equivalent to five minimal wages or 248,675 Uzbek soums (around 150 USD based on the official exchange rate) per month. From informal discussions with drivers, it takes up to a week to cover the annual costs of registration and monthly taxes for a taxi operator. Large proportion of the expenses is taken rent/depreciation (300-400 thousands soum) and petrol (from 1,435 soum per litre), which leaves drivers around 1 week's work as a profit. As a result only a very small number of individual taxi drivers register officially. According to TashGorPassTrans estimations, in 2005 < 2 % of all taxi operators (both professional and hobby) acquired a license to undertake taxi driving services, with < 1% registered with tax authorities. It is unlikely that this situation has changed significantly since then. This is despite the fact that penalties for operating without a license have risen substantially since 2006. They now stand at 20-100 times minimum wage (600-3,000 USD).
There have been some efforts to counteract informal taxi drivers with limited results so far. In January 2011 the government has renewed effort to solve the problem (uznews.net, 2011). It created operative groups consisting representatives of road and tax inspections, DLC and ToshShaharTransXizmat, which try to catch and penalize unlicensed drivers. However, so far these groups are not coping well with scale of the task assigned. The low probability of being caught and penalized explains why many drivers opt not to register officially. Moreover, restricting taxi drivers might be a politically sensitive issue, as the social welfare of many families depends upon the income of the professional and hobby taxi drivers.
State-owned versus privately owned providers in current taxation operational environment
Over the last 20 years since the process of deregulation commenced, the ownership structure of the urban transport system has evolved and has become an interesting case (Table 10). On one hand there is a rigid but relatively well-managed system of state-owned transport that controls electric transport (underground, trams and trolleybuses) as well as buses. On the other hand, there is the almost entirely privately owned taxi and shuttle taxi transport. The ownership structure has evolved as a direct response to actions/inactions of the policy makers.
The complete public ownership of electric transport (underground, tram and trolleybus) is not surprising. It was clear from the outset that this sector would not be privatized. No conditions were established to allow the emergence of newly established private transporters. Similarly, it is not surprising that shuttle taxis and taxis became privately owned. The state showed its intention in selling profit-making taxi transport companies to the private sector, and it generally encouraged the process since the first deregulation and privatization policies in the early 1990s. Shuttle taxi transport was not specifically targeted for privatization and deregulation as its share in public transport was very small in pre-independence years. It 'slipped under the radar' and enjoyed the same fate as ordinary taxis, when the existing fleet was sold out to individuals and a new fleet was not bought until 2004, albeit on a much smaller scale. A vacuum in supply of transport services by these modes of transport, considerable demand, little enforceable regulations (and therefore insignificant barriers for entry) in this area allowed private (mostly individual) transport companies to fill this gap relatively quickly.
In the case of buses, the government voiced its intention to privatize the services in a number of legislative documents. However, despite some attempts to implement these intentions, this has never been realized, and there is a number of reasons behind this outcome. First, the experience of the privatization of taxi companies was less than successful. This precluded authorities from implementing privatization in a similar way to other forms of transport. Second, the cost of any error in reorganizing the system is very high and the perceived benefits are low. Public transport is an area of high social importance, and serious disruptions to public transport in Tashkent might undermine the political stability of the city and even the country. This may explain the hesitancy of policy makers to undertake any significant reforms. Third, some people with vested interests may resist privatization, for example some of the current managers of public companies, or other government institutions and individuals that use the public bus companies free of charge. An example of this would be the transportation of city residents and students to farms during the cotton-picking season. These free services are normally authorized by relevant resolutions of the government. Moreover, there might be some influence from a local joint venture that produces medium size buses, namely Isuzu Uzbekistan. Currently, the government uses its power over bus companies to purchase these buses on a regular basis, which keeps the joint venture afloat. However, the viability of this joint venture might become questionable, should market forces prevail. Fourth, the current leadership cares about the image of the city in the eyes of foreigners. Having modern buses built by famous producers (such as Mercedes Benz) is perceived to be a positive thing for the image of the city. Taking into account the high cost of these buses, policy makers expect (and rightly so) that private providers' use of older buses from less reputable firms would negatively impact on the city's image.
As a result, the government has never tabled a comprehensive plan to implement privatization which would deal with all relevant issues, such as goals and rationale of doing so in the first instance, managing structures (if any), taxation, licensing, impact on environment, safety, congestion, quality of transport, social consequences, ownership matters of roads and bus stops, prevention of predatory competition and others. Most of the new regulations were carried out in an ad hoc manner and in response to perceived short-term problems. As a result, the current ownership structure has just evolved rather than having been planned.
Large versus small
One of the important factors that shaped the industry has been the tax legislation. In the effort to promote small business and entrepreneurship, substantial tax concessions were introduced for small firms and individual entrepreneurs. This can explain the fact that the vast majority of shuttle taxis and taxis are owned/managed by either small firms or individuals. According to Uzbek legislation, firms with <25 employees are classified as small. Most of the shuttle taxi routes are served by 8-15 vehicles, and this means that most shuttle taxi companies can only serve one or two routes to qualify for tax advantages. Taxis, as mentioned earlier, are mostly served by individual entrepreneurs.
The current tax structure applicable to public transport providers is presented in Table 11. It is clear that an option to pay the so-called 'unified tax' that replaces payment of a range of other taxes is attractive. Indeed, there are substantial incentives and scope for underreporting the cash revenues by drivers in exchange for cash bribes to the managers of small firms. In the current legislative environment, this makes 'staying small' an even more attractive option.
It is worth mentioning that the government made an obligation to reimburse all losses incurred by urban passenger transport providers (excluding taxis and shuttle taxis), which compensates public transport operators for a less favorable operating environment. For the majority of private operators though, mere reimbursement of a loss is clearly insufficient to attract interest in investing/creation of larger urban transport firms. The ownership and size matrix of urban transport companies is reported in Table 12.
Overall trend of development and its impact on passengers, safety of transport, environment and traffic conditions
The urban passenger transport in Tashkent has evolved in a number different ways since independence. After nearly 20 years of reforms some trends can be identified. The first trend is improved supply of urban transport for the city's residents. Second, the rising share of small scale or individual transport operators at the expense of larger state-owned enterprises. The share of electric transport across all three modes - underground, tram and trolleybuses - has been in decline, with the extreme case that the trolleybuses completely removed from the streets of Tashkent at the end of 2010. Third, there is a trend to gradually substitute larger vehicles (underground trains, large buses, trolleybuses) with the smaller vehicles, such as mini (up to 15 passenger seats) and midi buses (up to 30 passenger seats). This could result from the effort to achieve more flexibility in routes and quicker passenger turn-around, as well as to counteract falling vehicle capacity utilization rates (Tables 6-9). Fourth, there is growing pressure on the public transport system from individual car owners. The number of private cars has been growing rapidly, particularly since the opening of the UzDaewoo (now GM Uzbekistan) car manufacturing facility in the Andijan region in 1996. This tendency offsets the ability of public transport to gain from the growing Tashkent population. The fifth trend is the initial loosening (up to 1996) and later tightening of regulations on passenger transport. This shows that the authorities have not had a clear, long-term strategy for the public transport development, and their effort to enforce some of the regulations is questioned. Finally, the number of people using motorbikes and bicycles in Tashkent remains negligible. Motorbikes are unofficially prohibited from the streets of Tashkent, possibly due to perceived security threats to movement of the officials in the city. Cycling is not common because of a lack of appropriate infrastructure and the danger of accidents caused by motorists' negligent attitudes to cyclists. The consequences of these changes in public transport have implications for a number of socioeconomic and environmental areas.
Effectiveness and reliability
With the growing number of routes and vehicles engaged in shuttle-taxi transport, many passengers have acquired more options in getting around the city. The large number of shuttle taxi routes has proved convenient to passengers willing to travel to areas where they previously had to change vehicles once or twice before reaching their final destination. In these cases, passengers received speed and cost advantages in addition to the 'one entry' convenience. However, these benefits were not distributed evenly around the city areas. Major beneficiaries were those passengers residing near the terminal points of shuttle taxis. Those who have had to use intermediate stops gained little. This is primarily due to the fact that shuttle taxi drivers prefer to fill their vehicles to capacity at the terminal points. As a result, especially at rush hours, passengers at the intermediate stops rarely have a chance to catch a shuttle taxi unless a passenger exits at the stop. These passengers have to rely on the existing bus network or take taxis on an individual or ad hoc taxi sharing basis. Moreover, shuttle taxis can be rather unreliable in off-peak hours. Their schedules are not published and not enforced, and can vary dramatically depending on the day or time of the day. The transport provided by the companies under ToshShaharTransXizmat tends to be more reliable and improved over the years (Table 13), although passengers still lack any information about the frequency and timing on each route, apart from any previous experience.
Traffic conditions and road satiety
The growing number of vehicles in the city of Tashkent poses a significant potential problem of congestion and road safety. Traffic congestion is now increasing despite the significant effort of the authorities to build new roads and other transport infrastructure. This problem is common in the post-communist and developing world and has to be managed appropriately (Argenbright, 2008; Baigabulova, 2010; Estache and Gomez-Lobo, 2005; Pucher and Buehler, 2005; Pucher et al., 2007).
The authorities are trying to tackle the problem by heavy investments in building new roads and other transport infrastructure. Although no detailed data is publicly available on investments in road infrastructure, the significant change is visible. The authorities have recently completed large projects like building inner city ring road (so-called 'Small Ring Road'), number of multilevel crossing, bridges and tunnels. The planning work for infrastrucrural development in the city is made by NII TashGenPlan--a subsidiary of Tashkent City Council and approved by Cabinet of Ministers. Therefore, coordination of road infrastructure development and urban transport management is done within City Council. It should be noted that all infrastructure projects are tightly controlled by the city council and use of Public Private Partnership schemes are not common.
Despite all the efforts, rise in car ownership and the increase in number of vehicle engaged in public transportation outpace the infrastructure development and city gradually becomes more congested. If the rise in car ownership is left unmanaged and the quality of public transport deteriorates, scenarios of widespread traffic jams such as those that occur regularly in Almaty or Moscow cannot be ruled out. As seen in Table 14, average speed of public transport has not improved much, since congestion effect largely offset the potential speed improvement from using newer and faster fleet.
Although no information on traffic accidents is available, it would be fair to assume that the number of accidents grows with the number of vehicles on the road. The increasing number of vehicles engaged as urban shuttle taxis and taxis contributes to the problem. Competing taxis pose particular dangers when they perform illegal maneuvers to stop at the roadside for potential customers who normally signal by raising a hand.
There is very limited information about the impact of urban city transport on the air quality in Tashkent. According to National Committee for Nature Protection (2005a), Tashkent is the city with 'relative high level of air pollution' where concentration of dust and nitrogen dioxide in Tashkent has exceeded acceptable levels by 30% and 100%, respectively, in 2000-2004. National Committee for Nature Protection (2005b) report attributes > 80% of pollution in Tashkent to non-stationery sources (transport). Therefore, the road transport is likely to be responsible for the problem with the excess of nitrogen dioxide in the city. The levels of other common pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, were within acceptable limits in 2004.
Unfortunately, no public data for more recent years is available to examine the impact of the significant growth of vehicles in late 2000s. Although no systematic approach to environmental management is traced in Tashkent, there are some ad hoc measures to improve air pollution. For example, petrol quality requirements have been raised to Euro 2 standards (Baigabulova, 2010). There is now a requirement that any new buses purchased by ToshShaharTransXizmat must comply with Euro 3 standards. Taking into account that their share of emissions in the total quantity of gases emitted by vehicles in Tashkent is very small, this measure makes little contribution to an overall solution of the problem. Measures such as promoting the use of public transport or encouraging people to cycle to work and reducing the number of car trips are currently not on the agenda. This is a worrying sign taking into account the growing number of vehicles in city and the gradual replacement of more environmental friendly electric transport by the less friendly petrol-using buses.
When considering an impact of development of urban transport in Tashkent, both supplier of services and users of transport should be considered. On supply side, the deregulation of shuttle taxis (and taxis in particular) has resulted in a large growth in the number of people who generate or supplement their income by driving taxis. Our estimates suggest that at least every tenth family in Tashkent relies on such income. Tightening the regulations may cause an increased growth in unemployment and may cause potential tensions with authorities, making it difficult for politicians to take decisive action. Moreover, the majority of cars including those which are popular among taxi drivers (Daewoo Matiz) are produced locally. The government is keen to ensure that the plant, with a potential capacity of 200,000 vehicles per annum, has a consistent demand base in the richest and most populous city in Uzbekistan. Therefore, attempts to restrict car usage in Tashkent may face the resistance of a powerful political lobby from the UzAvtoSanoat - a government corporation with a majority stake holding in the joint venture.
On demand side, the issue of affordability of urban transport is of primary importance. The public transport in former Soviet Union was heavily subsidized. To reduce the burden, the Uzbek authorities have taken significant steps to reduce the subsidies by increasing prices on public transport faster than overall inflation rate. This is particularly evident in mid-1990s. Over the period 1992-2000, the fares have grown on average by 120% per annum whereas average inflation for the period is 76% per annum. In the same period, minimum wage has increased by 87% per annum and minimum pension by 93% per annum. Most of growth happened in early transition years while inflation was out of control.
As a result, the affordability of public transport has significantly declined and reached its lowest level in the mid-2000s. In Figure 2, the price for a general monthly pass and pensioners' pass is compared with official minimal wage and minimal pension. Since the monthly pass price is based on the 100 trips per month calculations and likely be used only by people who use four and more trips per day, we also introduced a more conservative measure for monthly travel expenses based on 2 trips per working day (44 trips per month). Even in the case of more conservative estimate of monthly transport expenses, they still exceed 20% affordability ceiling for low-income earners every year since 1995. The transport was least affordable in the mid-2000s when monthly transport expenses were in fact higher than the minimum wage. It should be noted though that the proportion of population on minimum wage is very small. (8) Minimum wage-paying jobs are likely to be taken by those living within walking distance of the workplace. There is an emerging positive trend in transport affordability in recent years as the rise in minimum wage and pension has been greater than the rise in fares.
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
Tashkent's inherited a reasonably well-developed urban transport system from the era of the Soviet Union that consisted of buses, trams, trolleybuses, shuttle taxis, taxis and the only underground system in post-Soviet Central Asia. The system was fairly well managed and coordinated between the various modes, with the exception of a lack of strong links between suburban rail and other city transport modes. As part of the deregulation process, the ownership structure has changed from being solely public to being mixed. The publicly owned transport now consists of the underground, buses and trams, whereas the private sector covers the shuttle taxi/taxi services. Owing to the peculiarities of local tax legislation and poor licensing enforcement, shuttle taxis and taxis are very capable competitors to public transport operators. Both taxi modes take a fair share of full fare-paying passengers from the public providers and continue to undermine their profitability.
There is no doubt that higher role of private operators brought some positives for the city's passenger transport users. The supply of transportation services have improved both in terms of quantity of passenger seats, and the mode and route options. Moreover, competition from private transporters may have served as a restraint on the fare increases by public providers. However, it is important to note that increased supply of transportation services came at the cost of somewhat neglected environmental concerns over the increasing contribution of transport to air pollution, increased traffic congestion with its health and safety consequences, and poorer affordability. Since the problem of supply of services is now solved, policy makers can direct their power and resources to address affordability, congestion and pollution problems, all of which are central to a sound modern public transport system.
In response to these emerging challenges, a comprehensive and decisive strategy for the urban transport system should be established to provide a clear direction for reform. This strategy should include clear governance structure, ownership aspects of transport providers and modal distribution. For example, the role of private sector in other transport modes, such as buses should be established. If earlier voiced intentions towards the privatization of bus companies are serious, an appropriate environment has to be established to attract private interest and investment. Taking into account the fact that the current Uzbek leadership prefers stronger government involvement in the management of strategic infrastructure, it would be naive to expect any real steps towards complete deregulation. The competitive regulation system seems to be a more politically viable alternative (Banister, 2003). The current dual management structure in Tashkent that is currently in place does not appear to be very efficient, as it has an inherent conflict of interest due to its partially overlapping responsibilities.
The potential socio-economic and environmental impact has to be carefully measured for any successful policy making to take place. The challenges here are the phasing out informal providers, in the way that has minimal negative impact on the welfare of large number of families dependent on the income generated from informal providers. Moreover, restricting the number of vehicles in the city should be on the city managers agenda due to infrastructural constraints and environmental considerations. Here promotion of public transport use as well as use of the 'green' transport (such as cycling) can be recommended.
Alexandr Akimov would like to acknowledge the financial support of Griffith University International Travel Fellowship. We would like to thank the editor and anonymous referees for their useful comments. The views expressed in the paper are the authors. They do not necessary represent any views by public transport officials in Tashkent or elsewhere.
Akimov, A and Dollery, B. 2008: Financial policy in transition economies: Architecture, pace and sequencing. Problems of Economic Transition 50(9): 6-26.
Akimov, A and Dollery, B. 2009: Financial development policies in Uzbekistan: An analysis of achievements and failures. Economic Charge and Restructuring 42 (4): 293-318.
Argenbright, R. 2008: Avtomobilshchina: Driven to the brink in Moscow. Urban Geography 29(7): 683-704.
Baigabulova, Z. 2010: The transport policy, m London: Lessons for Almaty. Working paper 1050, Transport Studies Unit, Oxford University: Oxford.
Banister, D. 2003: Critical pragmatism and congestion charging in London. International Social Science Journal 55(2): 249-264.
Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan. 1996: Resolution #291 "On measures for significant improvement of passenger transportation services for residents of the city of Tashkent'. enacted 19.08.1996.
Estache, A and Gomez-Lobo, A. 2005: Limits to competition in urban bus services in developing countries. Transport Reviews 25 (2): 139-158.
Fayzullaev, R. 2001: Shahar transporti, bozor iqtisodiyoti sharoitida (in Uzbek). Mehnat: Tashkent.
GorElectroTrans. 2010: Trolleybus of Tashkent (in Russian), http://transit.parovoz.com/masstransit/ index.php?lD=113, accessed 14 January 2010.
Hall, D. 2010: Transport geography and new European realities: A critique. Journal of Transport Geography 18(1): 1-13.
Karimov, I. 1993: Uzbekistan--An own model of transition to market relations. Sharq: Tashkent.
Karimov, I. 1995: Uzbekistan on the way of deepening of economic reforms. Sharq: Tashkent.
Krymzalov, V. 2008: ToshShaharTransXizmat: A step to the third millennium. An interview with Z. Abrorov (in Russian) Chastnaya Sobstvennost. Available from http://www.mmulk.uz/content/view/649/7/, accessed 19 January 2010.
Library of Congress. 1989: A country study: Soviet Union (A Former), http://memory.loc.gov/frd/cs/sutoc.html, accessed 24 January 2010.
Merzlov, D. 2009: Tashkentskomu tramvayu 100 let. Available from http://uz-electro.narod.ru/history-tash.html, accessed 25 January 2010.
National Committee for Nature Protection. 2005a: Quality of air (in Russian). Available from http:// uznature.uz/rus/kachatmos.html, accessed 19 February 2011.
National Committee for Nature Protection. 2005b: Impact of mobile sources of pollution on air (in Russian). Available from http://uznature.uz/rus/peredjistoch.html, accessed 19 February 2011.
Pucher, J and Buehler, R. 2005: Transport policy in post-communist Europe. In: Hensher, D and Button, K (eds). Transport Strategies, Policies and Institutions. Elsevier: Oxford, pp. 725-743.
Pucher, J, Peng, Z-R, Mittal, N, Zhu, Y and Korattyswaroopam, N. 2007: Urban transport trends and policies in China and India: Impacts of rapid economic growth. Transport Reviews 27(4): 379-410.
Rodrik, D. 1993: The positive economics of policy reform. American Economic Review 83(2): 356-361.
Sharahmedov, D and Gulyamov, S. 2006: Transport of Tashkent (in Russian). O'zbekistan Milliy Entsiklopediyasi: Tashkent.
Tashkent City Council. 2010: About Tashkent. Tashkent City Council. Available from http:// www.tashkent.uz, accessed 8 May 2010.
Taylor, Z and Ciechanski, A. 2008: What happened to the national road carrier in a post-communist country? The case of Poland's state road transport. Transport Reviews 28(5): 619-640.
Viknyanskaya, N, Golender, B, Shokirov, Q and Alimov, A. 2001: Tashkent tramvayi yuz yoshda (in Uzbek). O'zbekistan Milliy Entsiklopediyasi: Tashkent.
Uznews.net. 2011: Tashkent is getting rid of private taxi drivers (in Russian). Available from http://www.uznews.net/news_single.php?lng=ru&sub=&cid=2&nid=16060, accessed 20 February 2011.
(1) Tashkent's density is about 6,900 persons per [km.sup.2].
(2) Suburban bus routes served by regional operators are not included in this number.
(3) The official exchange rate was 1 USD approximately equal to 0.6 Soviet roubles. Average monthly wage in the Soviet Union in 1988 was 195.6 roubles (Library of Congress Country Studies, 1989).
(4) Level of government subsidy is percentage of total expenses covered by the government.
(5) With the exception of a handful of small-scale operators under umbrella of ToshShaharTransXizmat.
(6) Minimum allowable wage as of 1 January 2011 is 49,735 soums per month (approximately 30 USD based on official exchange rate).
(7) The term 'cash paying passengers' is applied in contrast with those passengers using monthly passes.
(8) Minimum wage measure is more like a formal benchmark for the calculation on taxes, fees and penalties rather than a representative figure for the actual wage of poor people.
ALEXANDR AKIMOV [1,2] & DAVID BANISTER 
 Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, Griffith University, Southport, Qld 4222, Australia. E-mail: email@example.com
 Transport Studies Unit, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Table 1: Ownership of taxi companies in Tashkent in 1996 Taxi State's Value Employees Value company share (in 000 share (in 000 soum) soum) #1 26 9,258.3 49 17,448.4 #2 26 58,629.0 47 105,983.4 EPAP (#3) 26 11,642.5 36 15,673.0 Amir Temur (#4) 51 10,071.7 49 9,676.8 #5 26 765.5 49 1,442.6 Taxi Domestic Value Foreign Value company investors (in 000 investors (in 000 soum) soum) #1 25 8,902.3 #2 27 60,884.0 EPAP (#3) 39 17,464.0 Amir Temur (#4) #5 25 736.1 Note: Exchange rate as of 1 August 1996 was 1USD=38 Uzbek scums. Source: Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan (1996: Appendix 3) Table 2: Ownership of bus companies in Tashkent in 1996 Bus States share Value Employees company (in 000 share soum) #1 100 125069.5 #2 90 358,976 5 #3 95 67,719 5 #4 97.4 242,041 2.6 #5 90 1,940,32.7 5 #7 100 23741.6 #8 100 279296 #12 100 48105.7 #18 90 164,710 5 #2,519 100 31185.6 Bus Value Domestic Value company (in 000 investors (in 000 soum) soum) #1 #2 19,832 5 19,832 #3 3,564 #4 6,357 #5 10,779 5 10,779 #7 #8 #12 #18 9,151 5 9,151 #2,519 Not to be privatized Source: Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan (1996: Appendix 3) Table 3: Aggregated fleet of companies of the Association ToshShohorTransXizmat 1990 1995 2000 Population 2,114,347 2,116,446 2,134,602 Number of vehicles Public 7,017 4,319 2,790 Private Buses 2,243 1,654 1,497 Trams 531 425 288 Trolleybuses 418 354 276 Metro 156 192 192 Shuttle taxi Public 314 208 5 Private (a) 0 NA NA Taxi Public 3,355 1,486 532 Private (a) Near 0 NA NA Vehicles capacity (total number of passenger seats) (b) Public 122,295 NA NA Private 0 NA NA 2005 2009 Population 2,168,742 2,200,911 Number of vehicles Public 2,073 2,134 Private 22,000 Buses 1,462 1,601 Trams 133 119 Trolleybuses 122 51 Metro 212 212 Shuttle taxi Public 36 62 Private (a) NA 2,000 Taxi Public 108 89 Private (a) NA 20,000 Vehicles capacity (total number of passenger seats) (b) Public NA 55,110 Private NA 108,000 (a) Rough estimates only, data for interim years are not available. (b) Authors' estimate. Source: WDI online, DLC, TOshShahorTronsX1zmot and Krymzalov (2008) Table 4: Makes of Tashkent Urban transport fleet 1990 2000 Buses LAZ, Soviet Union LAZ, Ukraine Ikarus, Hungary Mercedes-Benz, Germany LIAZ, Soviet Union Daewoo, Korea PAZ, Soviet Union PAZ, Russia KAVZ, Soviet Union LIAZ, Russia Trams KTM, Soviet Union KTM, Russia RVZ, Soviet Union Tatra, Czech Republic Tatra, Czechoslovakia RVZ, Latvia Trolleybuses ZIU, Soviet Union ZIU, Russia Skoda, Czech Republic Taxis GAZ, Soviet Union Daewoo, Uzbekistan Dogan, Turkey Shuttle taxis RAF, Soviet Union RAF, Soviet Union 2009 Buses Mercedes-Benz, Germany Isuzu, Uzbekistan Otoyol, Uzbekistan Trams Tatra, Czech Republic KTM, Russia Trolleybuses Skoda, Czech Republic ZIU, Russia Taxis GM Daewoo, Uzbekistan Shuttle taxis GAZ, Russia Other varieties (a) (a) Note: Private transport companies use a great variety of vehicles of different makes, but in particular they use Fords and Toyotas. Source: DLC and ToshShaharTransXizmat and authors' observations Table 5: Fare and monthly pass price dynamics in Tashkent in 1992-2011 (in soums) Fare/pass (a) 1992 (b) 1993 (b) 1994 (c) 1995 1996 Single trip fare 0.00015 0.002 0.03 1 4 Adult pass 0.01500 0.200 3.00 100 400 Full pass NA NA NA NA NA Pensioners pass 0.00705 0.094 1.41 47 188 Student pass 0.00495 0.066 0.99 33 132 Pupil pass 0.00405 0.054 0.81 27 108 Fare/pass (a) 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Single trip fare 6 10 15 25 40 Adult pass 600 1,000 1,500 2,500 4,000 Full pass NA NA NA 4,000 6,400 Pensioners pass 282 470 705 1,175 1,880 Student pass 198 330 495 825 1,320 Pupil pass 162 270 405 675 1,080 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Single trip fare 60 90 130 160 160 Adult pass 6,000 9,030 13,030 16,050 16,000 Full pass 9,600 14,440 28,040 25,660 25,660 Pensioners pass 2,820 4,240 6,610 7,520 8,150 Student pass 1,980 2,980 4,690 5,280 6,000 Pupil pass 1,620 2,440 3,910 4,320 4,850 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Single trip fare 200 250 400 400 500 Adult pass 20,000 25,000 40,000 40,000 50,000 Full pass NA NA NA NA NA Pensioners pass 10,000 12,500 20,000 20,000 25,000 Student pass 7,900 10,900 20,000 20,000 25,000 Pupil pass 6,000 9,000 20,000 20,000 25,000 (a) All monthly passes cover unlimited travel on publicly owned buses, trams and trolleybuses with the exception of full pass, which also covers underground. (b) Price quoted in thousands of Soviet roubles (later converted to Uzbek soum-coupons at the ratio 1:1). (c) Price quoted in thousands of Uzbek soum-coupons (later converted to Uzbek scums at the ratio 1000:1). Source: DLC, ToshShaharTronsXizmat and authors' estimations Table 6: Performance of Tashkent underground in 1992-2009 1992 2000 2001 2002 Passengers transported 140.9 125.7 142.0 136.4 (million) Fleet utilization 0.781 0.692 0.768 0.746 rate Vehicle (seat) capacity 1.209 1.531 1.643 1.425 utilization rate Revenues 625 * 2,854 4,135 6,547 (in million soum) Profit/loss 55 * -99 -1,730 -3,559 (in million soum) Level of subsidy (%) -8.75 * 3.36 29.50 35.22 2003 2004 2005 2006 Passengers transported 114.3 95.6 89.9 69.0 (million) Fleet utilization 0.746 0.759 0.751 0.741 rate Vehicle (seat) capacity 1.203 1.020 0.960 0.738 utilization rate Revenues 9,024 9,719 10,075 10,128 (in million soum) Profit/loss -4,082 -2,193 -3,138 -3,288 (in million soum) Level of subsidy (%) 31.15 18.41 23.75 24.51 2007 2008 2009 Passengers transported 70.5 73.4 68.0 (million) Fleet utilization 0.749 0.743 0.765 rate Vehicle (seat) capacity 0.758 0.792 0.736 utilization rate Revenues 14,591 20,675 24,893 (in million soum) Profit/loss -1,927 -980 -1,821 (in million soum) Level of subsidy (%) 11.67 4.52 6.82 Note: * Data for 1996. Source: DLC, ToshShaharTronsXizmot and authors' estimations Table 7: Performance of Tashkent tramways in 1992-2009 1992 2000 2001 2002 Passengers 140.9 92.4 91.9 79.7 transported (million) Fleet utilization 0.781 0.681 0.707 0.705 rate Vehicle (seat) 1.209 0.754 0.854 0.925 capacity utilization rate Revenues 122 * 1,585 2,187 2,936 (in million soum) Profit/loss -88 * -345 -504 -1,484 (in million soum) Level of subsidy (%) 18.22 * 17.86 18.73 33.58 2003 2004 2005 2006 Passengers 64.0 50.4 43.3 46.2 transported (million) Fleet utilization 0.719 0.736 0.768 0.816 rate Vehicle (seat) 0.765 0.595 0.595 0.628 capacity utilization rate Revenues 3,630 3,680 3,432 3,737 (in million soum) Profit/loss -1,194 -1,613 -1,528 -1,450 (in million soum) Level of subsidy (%) 24.75 30.47 30.80 27.95 2007 2008 2009 Passengers 46.9 41.5 38.9 transported (million) Fleet utilization 0.835 0.791 0.819 rate Vehicle (seat) 0.598 0.548 0.464 capacity utilization rate Revenues 5,326 2,960 8,086 (in million soum) Profit/loss -1,448 -1,584 -2,475 (in million soum) Level of subsidy (%) 21.38 34.86 23.44 Note: * Data for 1996. Source: DLC, ToshShaharTronsXizmat and authors' estimations Table 8: Performance of Tashkent trolleybuses in 1992-2009 1992 2000 2001 2002 Passengers 136.6 62.6 50.5 38.5 transported (million) Fleet utilization 0.704 0.700 0.658 0.590 rate Vehicle (seat) capacity 1.131 0.671 0.682 0.720 utilization rate Revenues 296 * 1,055 1,184 1,407 (in million soum) Profit/loss -27 * -650 -510 -1,163 (in million soum) Level of subsidy (%) 8.31 * 38.10 30.09 45.25 2003 2004 2005 2006 Passengers 26.8 15.6 12.1 12.0 transported (million) Fleet utilization 0.571 0.581 0.611 0.571 rate Vehicle (seat) capacity 0.532 0.324 0.320 0.389 utilization rate Revenues 1,513 1,134 951 974 (in million soum) Profit/loss -1,624 -2,037 -1,981 -1,920 (in million soum) Level of subsidy (%) 51.77 64.24 67.55 66.35 2007 2008 2009 Passengers 10.9 5.7 3.4 transported (million) Fleet utilization 0.563 0.489 0.541 rate Vehicle (seat) capacity 0.438 0.417 0.264 utilization rate Revenues 1,221 916 821 (in million soum) Profit/loss -1,667 -2,145 -2,164 (in million soum) Level of subsidy (%) 57.71 70.08 72.50 Note: * Data for 1996. Source: DLC, ToshShahorTronsXizmot and authors' estimations Table 9: Performance of Tashkent buses in 1992-2009 1992 2000 2001 2002 Passengers 279.6 397.8 462.5 493.5 transported (million) Fleet 0.676 0.709 0.732 0.74 utilization rate Vehicle (seat) 0.512 1.059 1.119 1.107 capacity utilization rate Revenues 1,389 * 8,225 12,335 18,897 Profit/loss -192 * -1,358 -2,724 -4,987 (in million soum) Level of 12.15 * 14.17 18.09 20.88 subsidy (%) 2003 2004 2005 2006 Passengers 484.2 400.8 397.3 390.1 transported (million) Fleet 0.728 0.773 0.799 0.798 utilization rate Vehicle (seat) 0.865 0.666 0.663 0.717 capacity utilization rate Revenues 23,853 30,201 31,830 32,378 Profit/loss -6,775 -11,919 -12,906 -16,979 (in million soum) Level of 22.12 28.30 28.85 34.40 subsidy (%) 2007 2008 2009 Passengers 386.8 387.9 360.9 transported (million) Fleet 0.803 0.841 0.86 utilization rate Vehicle (seat) 0.766 0.717 0.671 capacity utilization rate Revenues 44,415 61,523 87,300 Profit/loss -18,991 -17,478 -15,968 (in million soum) Level of 29.95 22.12 15.46 subsidy (%) Note: * Data for 1996. Source: DLC, ToshShaharTronsXizmat and authors' estimations Table 10: Public versus private ownership of municipal transport companies Mode of transport Public Underground Yes, currently it is not subject to privatization Trolleybus Yes, to seize operations any operations by 2011 Tram Yes, currently it is not subject to privatization Bus Yes, with some rare exceptions but under the umbrella of ToshShahorTransXizmat Shuttle taxi No with some rare exceptions Taxi No with some rare exceptions Mode of transport Private Underground No Trolleybus No Tram No Bus No Shuttle taxi Yes, with some rare exceptions Taxi Yes, with some rare exceptions Source: OLC and ToshShahorrransXizmat Table 11: Tax burden on small and large public transport providers Tax type Small companies (<25 employees) Company profit tax No Unified tax 7% of gross revenues VAT No Assets tax No Tax for social infrastructure No Land tax No Tax to Republic's road fund No Petrol tax 145 soum (<0.1 USD) per litre Social contributions 25% of gross wages Tax type Large companies (25+employees) Company profit tax 9% of profit Unified tax No VAT 20% of value added Assets tax 3.5% of assets value Tax for social infrastructure 8% of profits Land tax Varies, depending on area and location Tax to Republic's road fund 8% of revenues exclusive VAT payments Petrol tax No Social contributions 25% of gross wages Source: Various legislative documents Table 12: Ownership/size matrix Ownership/size Small Large Private Taxis and shuttle taxis Insignificant Public No Buses, trams, trolleybuses, underground Table 13: Service reliability of public providers by mode in 1992-2009 (a) 1992 2000 2001 2002 Buses 89.07 92.62 93.23 91.90 Trams 80.09 73.85 77.22 79.91 Trolleybuses 82.47 67.76 63.41 61.84 Metro 99.90 99.77 99.90 99.90 Overall 86.87 86.2 87.17 87.38 2003 2004 2005 2006 Buses 92.78 96.66 95.72 97.93 Trams 84.62 86.35 81.84 89.03 Trolleybuses 67.51 70.93 67.27 59.45 Metro 99.90 99.90 99.90 99.90 Overall 89.56 94.21 93.34 94.60 2007 2008 2009 Buses 95.41 96.94 94.88 Trams 90.55 92.25 95.48 Trolleybuses 52.66 50.3 68.27 Metro 99.90 99.90 99.90 Overall 92.47 94.89 94.37 (a) Percentage of timely completion of scheduled services. Source: DLC, ToshShohorTronsXizmat and authors' estimations Table 14: Average speed (km/h) by mode in 1992-2009 1992 2000 2001 2002 Buses 17.7 19.6 20.0 20.4 Trams 15.1 14.7 14.9 15.9 Trolleybuses 16.1 14.2 14.6 15.3 Metro 41.0 41.4 40.9 39.5 Overall 17.9 19.5 20.2 21.2 2003 2004 2005 2006 Buses 20.9 20.6 20.3 19.8 Trams 16.7 17.2 16.6 17.5 Trolleybuses 16.8 16.8 16.5 14.8 Metro 42.4 41.1 41.2 41.2 Overall 21.9 21.5 21.3 21.0 2007 2008 2009 Buses 19.9 21.0 21.2 Trams 17.5 16.4 15.6 Trolleybuses 13.5 12.4 14.1 Metro 41.2 41.2 41.1 Overall 21.1 21.9 22.0 Source: DLC, ToshShaharTronsXizmot and authors' estimations