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City news, 06.09.2005 17:05

City Hall to Begin Tourist Bus Checks

The city’s tourist bus The Commission on Safety Traffic supervised by the city’s governor will this month begin large-scale inspections of the city’s tourist buses.

The city administration decided to start the inspections after a collision a month ago in which a 69-year-old German woman died and 19 other German and Dutch tourists, who were with her in a tourist bus touring St. Petersburg, were injured.

“We must check all the tourist firms involved in transportation of tourists,” Delovoi Peterburg quoted Leonid Bogdanov, chairman of the city’s legality, law and safety committee, as saying Friday.

The checks are to include inspection of transport licenses, technical conditions, and other aspects.

Yet, heads of the city’s tourist companies fear that such inspections might merely result in extra bribery of road police by tourist buses.

“I’m afraid that such checks will provoke more extortion of money by road police,” Irina Sizova, head of Neptun Travel tourist company, said Monday.

Instead of organizing such checks the city should take better care of the city’s roads and put more thought into the location of traffic lights, she said.

“The poor condition of the city roads leads to fast aging of the city’s vehicles, while traffic lights are often located not in the places where they are needed,” Sizova said.

Road policemen in their turn are often absent at the intersections where they are needed, but instead watch for drivers, who break rules in safer areas, just to fine them, Sizova said.

Most of St. Petersburg’s tourist firms do not have their own transport for driving tourists and hire buses from the city’s transportation companies.

“In such cases we are naturally interested in the good condition and work of such transport, and transport companies are interested in giving us such transport, too. Otherwise we wouldn’t continue contracts with them,” Sizova said.

Valery Fridman, director of Mir tourist company, said Monday extra police checks will hardly help if the city does not improve traffic conditions in St. Petersburg.

“For instance, the spot where the car accident took place already has reputation of a death spot, and urgently needs a traffic light and ultimately an overpass,” Fridman said.

The turnoff from Pulkovskoye Shosse to the suburb of Pushkin, where the accident took place, is known for frequent car accidents and traffic problems.

The intersection is unregulated. At least three serious car accidents have taken place there in the last year.

Fridman said human factors were also to blame for the crash.

According to a preliminary investigation the driver of the tourist bus was as fault because he did not yield to the truck, which was driving along the main road.

But, before the car accident the bus was in good technical condition, Fridman said.

About 1,000 excursion buses work daily in St. Petersburg, Delovoi Peterburg reported.

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(c) 2000