Considering that the chaos was everywhere, it is naïve to believe that transportation was functioning well right after the Soviet Union collapsed.
One of my strongest memories is trams… Trams are environment friendly vehicles, which work from electricity. The keyword here is electricity… Due to severest inflation and economic problems, the tram organisation could not pay the related bills. As follows, there were electricity cuts, which usually happened rather unexpectedly, without any warning. Exactly at those moments, trams could be following from point A to point B with a significant number of people ‘onboard’. This means that trams could stop any moment in the middle of the street. There were more unlucky moments – stopping at the crossroads, yes, it happened rather frequently. It was an absolute mess, car drivers had to find the way to overcome the traffic obstacle, which from time to time could lead to an accident and more severe traffic jams.
Electricity cuts were not the only problem. Corrosion took over some parts of trams. I remember sitting and watching the road through a rather big whole in the floor of the tram. Trams got broken really often, too, and, yes, without any warning. Definitely, this was not the most reliable means of transport at that time.
Buses. I hated them, never in time. Often, there were only 1 bus on the route instead of 3 or even 4, so it was a lottery to catch a bus. In a cold winter, I was hiding from a biting frost in the nearby shop, hoping that the bus will arrive soon as there were no other option to get home.
At that point, a new means of transportation occurred – marshrutka – which exists nowadays in Russia. It was a route minibus, which could be stopped anywhere, literally anywhere breaking the traffic rules and causing potential danger to passengers and other drivers. Luckily, things have changed and marshrutkas follow traffic regulations (most of the time). A marshrutka ticket was more expensive than a bus ticket, which was not affordable for my family…
If you want to learn about other aspects, which I did not mention, please, ask in the comment section. 🙂
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