Trolley is cancer: there are no ticket inspectors in Moscow trolley buses. You’ll never guess why

This picture of a trolley going from “Russia” to “Station” (literally!) is one of the most liked in my Instagram. I took it in Tver, a city between Moscow and St. Petersburg. The public transport in Tver is so poor they discontinued a tram line last year and are planning a public transit reform that, in fact, will launch everything from scratch. But the situation is very different in Moscow.

Moscow’s land transport is almost as good as its subway. Its trolley buses aren’t corroded nor broken. And still, the city wants to abandon these poled coaches and replace them with electric buses. Why? Because they’re new and produced by enterprises that should be supported. And – they’re expensive.

Hm, well, even super-pricey.

The Accounts Chamber has already dipped into the Department of Transport’s contracts to supply electric buses, insiders say – and at the Department, they’re worried. They’re getting ready to defend their choice and prove to federal officials that trolley buses are cancer that must be eliminated. But, for hell’s sake, how?

They have found a way. Now ticket validation terminals in Moscow trolley buses are getting removed or defunct, and ticket inspectors are unofficially banned from checking their passengers. Soon the Department of Transport will have some painful data to present – and new electric buses will be ordered.

As a consultant, I have a couple of free tips for the Department of Transport:

  • Don’t completely replace vehicles on a route, leave some routes served by both trolley buses and electric buses. Run buses in rush hours and trolleys late at night on the same route, don’t forget about breaking the devices (but only on trolleys!) and you’ll show to all the doubtful that people don’t like those horned coaches and appreciate the electric buses – for smoother motion or whatever.
  • Rearrange some stops. You like it, don’t you? But only for trolleys. Find a heap of places where vehicles of many routes stop, and make trolleys stop in other places, less comfortable for passengers. Explain to people that it’s made to avoid masses of traffic. In no time you’ll get the stats you need. Be sure you won’t get burned – does any control board care where stops are located?

Take my business card.