Public Transportation Impacted by the Epidemic in Bursa Will Not Be The Same

The mass transportation that is hit by the epidemic in Bursa will not be the same as before.
The mass transportation that is hit by the epidemic in Bursa will not be the same as before.

Burulaş General Manager Kürşat Çapar, who shared shocking data on public transportation that was hit due to the epidemic, said that the number of passengers decreased by 85 percent. Stating that the 50 percent passenger capacity rule is not sustainable, Çapar called the citizen: "In order for us to work with 50 percent passenger capacity, we need to buy 800 more vehicles. This means an investment of 500 million lira. We expect citizens to be sensitive to their choice of watches and wagons. The period in which everyone will start at 9 in the morning and finish at 5 in the evening should be left behind. "

Stating that the Metropolitan Council is expected to convene for the tender of the T2 Tram Line, which has stopped being built, Çapar also shared important information about traffic congestion and saving measures: “We achieved 15 percent fluidity in traffic with small touches. By selling the planes, we avoided an annual loss of 11 million lira and provided 7 million cash. We turned this resource into services that are more intense by the citizens of Bursa and that touch the majority of citizens. "

Burulaş General Manager Kürşat Çapar was the guest of this week's Monday Interviews.

  • How does Burulaş staff overcome the epidemic process?
  • How was public transportation affected by the epidemic?
  • Traffic jam in Bursa?
  • How is the financial situation?
  • At which stage are the signaling studies?
  • When does the passenger capacity increase?
  • When will the T2 Line be started?
  • Will minibuses be converted into buses?
  • Is there a hike on the horizon?

Mustafa Özdal from Olay Newspaper asked, Çapar answered.


► How are the epidemic days? Do you go to work every day?

The epidemic is a serious problem. In this process, we went out of routine. Public transportation is one of the most important risk areas. The risk of healthcare workers is known, but tradesmen and employees working in public transportation are the most important risk group. That's why we implemented quarantine and protective measures. Apart from these, as Burulaş, we switched to short-time working allowance, in order not to enter the crowd and to save money. One-third of the staff is on leave for 10-day periods. This made us have a substitute staff. And I come to work every day because I manage the orchestra.


► How was the public transportation of Bursa affected by the epidemic? Could you give information about the occupancy rates?

There is a decrease in passengers exceeding 85 percent. So we had a serious loss. We are at the focal point of the measure to protect social distance. Therefore, there was no such thing as a reduction in our trips by 85 percent.

► Did the busiest drop in passengers or in Bursaray?

There are no big differences. It fell from 280 thousand to 50 thousand in Bursaray. There's a bit more reduction in the bus.

► After the epidemic is over, it is predicted that our old habits will change. For example, we will stay away from crowded environments for a while. So, there is an opinion that people will not prefer public transportation for a while. Do you agree? 

This is what we are experiencing nowadays. We live in a completely unrestricted economic and social life and we see that people use their private means compared to the past. This will continue, but as life becomes normal, the number of passengers will increase slightly. When we reach the old numbers, there are neither enough vehicles nor enough personnel. We also do not want to reach the old passenger numbers. Because we have difficulties in providing safe service.


► When we compare Bursa's traffic congestion with previous years, do you have any meaningful data?

I measure on my own system. The travel time of a bus line is also an indicator of traffic congestion. There was an acceleration in tour times during the epidemic period. This shows that traffic is flowing faster. Compared to 3 years ago, we achieved significant increases in tour times. When we first arrive, we see that our tours, which take 1 hour and 10 minutes, are reduced to 50 minutes. Small touches, the removal of the revolving islands, and the widening of the lane in Acemler, there was a decrease in tour times during rush hour. There was a fluidity of around 10,15 percent in traffic.


► What is the financial situation in Bursaray and buses? Are you hurting on public transport?

Public transport is a lot of money kazanIt's not an area. In the bus business, the journey per kilometer is 1,2. Okay, the number of passengers is high in the morning hours, but there are also times when the passengers are very few. We have a serious financial burden during low passenger hours. We were balancing some of this burden with Bursaray's revenues and other activities, and in fact, we have a company that has settled the balance of payments. Free travel is also subsidized by the municipality. In other words, there is a Buruluş that is roasted in its own fat but makes very important investments. 150 million lira signalization and porilization are also done with the resources of Burulaş. We spent the resources we obtained from the planes we sold on Bursa. It turns out that we made the right decision. By operating more vehicles, we maintain social distance and protect citizens from risks. We also changed all Bursaray's elevators. We have purchased more than 50 new vehicles with our equity, and 20 vehicles will arrive in June. We buy 70 vehicles with our equity. Therefore, Burulaş has a structure that can enlarge its fleet, increase its capacity, manage its modernization work and establish the income-expense balance. But the Covid-19 process has created a serious handicap.

► You talked about the sale of Burulaş's aircraft. How much did these sales save?

Selling the planes had two benefits. Getting rid of the annual damage and obtaining resources. By selling the planes, we avoided an annual loss of 2 million lira and provided 11 million cash. We transformed this resource into services that are more intense by the citizens of Bursa and touch the majority of citizens.


► At what stage is the signaling work in Bursaray? When will passenger capacity increase?

Cable cutting operations have been completed. Equipment assemblies are being made. The fact that the contractor firm is of German origin caused a glitch as we were in the epidemic process. But finally, we performed a factory acceptance test. We also made the tender of 2 transformer centers. Our plans were to increase capacity for the first time in September and to run more vehicles on the first day of the schools. But there may be some sagging.


► Metropolitan Mayor Alinur Aktaş said in his last statement about the T2 Tram Line that they solved the financial problem. What is the latest situation in the T2 Line, which has not been completed for years? 

This issue is partly in the field of the Department of Transportation. With the initiatives of Mr. President, a certain point has been reached in the loan agreement. However, due to the epidemic, the Metropolitan Council meetings cannot be continued. There were delays both here and in credit firms. After the loan agreement is made, a tender can be made immediately. We are ready.

► Mayor Aktaş had called on the minibus tradesmen to return their vehicles to the bus, but the minibuses did not lean towards this. Is this topic off the agenda?

This call is not a call to end. There are meetings from time to time. Tradesmen do not look favorably, as they have privileges guaranteed by the law. But time changes the rules of the game. Therefore, this is not a work we will give up. We will continue our efforts for a more comfortable and modern transportation.


► In the past years, it was forbidden to carry standing passengers. But today, we witness the buses being jam-packed for some hours, let alone the standing passenger? Why is this allowed?

Now this is an economic issue first of all. It is still forbidden for minibuses to carry standing passengers. There is no compromise on that matter. But private public buses and other buses have standing passenger capacity. Within the scope of Covid-19 measures, you can use 50 percent capacity with the circular of the Ministry of Interior. The citizen understands this, half the number of seats. But you can carry not half the seats, but half the passenger capacity. For example, the passenger capacity of a 12-meter vehicle is 98. In other words, this vehicle can carry 49 passengers. Carrying half the number of seats is not sustainable. There are 3 comfort perceptions about public transportation. One, period. So the car leaves every few minutes. Two prices. Jam in three. Of course, the price parameter forces the congestion parameter. If you keep the price too low, you will increase the congestion after a while. Now we are trying to bring all 3 parameters to the optimum point. Our aim is to make the rail system the main backbone and provide a more comfortable transportation. We increased the frequency of flights. People wait 12, 13 minutes rather than half an hour. But still, technical problems may arise from time to time. We expect the passenger to show a little more reflex. If the vehicle arrives at risk for health, let them wait for the other vehicle. In Bursaray, a train comes every 4 minutes in the evening, but there is a pileup in one of the wagons, the others are empty. Why is that? Because the full wagon is the closest wagon to the stairs. The citizen risks both himself and others' health by walking and not getting on the wagon that is far from the stairs. We expect the citizen to change their behavior. Because we don't have a chance to continue our old habits. There is no resource that can live as before. We do not have the luxury of having a 2-deck bus, one being empty and the other running. We have 800 public transportation vehicles in urban transportation. In order for us to work with 50 percent passenger capacity, we need to buy 800 more vehicles. This means an investment of 500 million lira. We cannot finance this. Also, when life returns to normal, these 800 vehicles will be idle. For this reason, we expect citizens to be sensitive about watches and wagons. The period in which everyone will start at 9 am and finish at 5 pm should be left behind. Working hours must be divided. But we always expect the solution by asking the public transport authority to put a bus.

► Do you use public transportation to see the status of public transportation in Bursa?

I use it very often. I started the day before Covid-19 by getting on a public transportation vehicle.


► Is there a raise for public transport in the coming days due to your falling income?

We live in a country with a certain inflation. You have a cost increase. But we are trying to reflect this to the citizens to a minimum. Since we started working with Alinur President, our total cost increase is 55 percent. We have reflected only 10 percent of this to citizens. The day we took office, our income per passenger was 1 lira and 69 kuruş. We made a raise, 1 lira came to the level of 82 cents. But we have a cost of 2 lira and 50 kuruş per passenger. We have an income of 182 cents. We have decided not to deduct the cost of those who use the system free of charge from those who pay the system. If we had done the opposite, we would have made a net from a pouch. The free travel subsidy is covered by the municipal budget. A resource of 40-45 million lira is transferred from the coffers of the Metropolitan Municipality every year for the subsidy.

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