The no. 74 minibus, which for years went through Republic Square on its route, for several days now has been taking a different route. The minibus no longer goes down Mashtots Ave. and Amiryan St., but at the intersection near St. Sarkis church, it travels toward the circus then to Ayrarat movie theater.
The Epress.am correspondent on the minibus overheard passengers complaining about the new route, saying that no previous notice of the change had been given. Drivers simply say that this is the route from now on.
To get some answers, Epress.am called Artur Gevorgyan, head of the information and public relations division at Yerevan City Hall, who said that the municipality didn’t make a decision to change the route; rather, for the past few years, the no. 74 minibus has been taking the wrong route. Inspections of the service revealed the error and now the service will operate on the route that is (and always was) designated in its contract with the city.
“For years, they’ve deviated from the route. Now inspections have become stringent and the route owner is being obliged to be guided by the defined route. We, along with the Ministry of Transportation, are inspecting these violations,” he said.
As for rumors that public transportation routes will no longer go across Republic Square, Gevorgyan said: “I don’t think that the entry to the square will be prohibited for the other routes. Those routes that shouldn’t cross [Republic Square] as per their contract won’t cross and will take the route that is stated [in their contracts].”
Asked how passengers can become informed of any changes to their routes, the city employee said this is not among the municipality’s responsibilities — it is the private company which owns the route in question that is supposed to deal with this matter.
Gevorgyan added, new bus (not minibus) routes will be gradually introduced in the Armenian capital in February. In response to the Epress.am correspondent’s comment that hopefully this might mean the number of minibuses will be reduced, Gevorgyan said, this, of course, doesn’t mean that the transportation issue will be completely resolved, but the situation will be somewhat alleviated.