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Free public transport project in Idlib

Violet Organization launches the free al-Khari Bus in Idlib city - 10 December 2019 (Violet Facebook page)

Violet Organization launches the free al-Khari Bus in Idlib city - 10 December 2019 (Violet Facebook page)

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Violet, a local organization, launched a free public transport project, which bore the name “al-Khair buses”, in the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria on 10 December. The project aims at providing transit services for people who cannot afford the transportation fees, via two city buses. The first bus takes off from the northern outskirts of the city while the other takes off from the southern end of the city.

Fouad Sayed Issa, a member of Violet Syria’s leadership told Enab Baladi that the organization kicked off the al-Khair buses project again, which was previously effective, and stopped a year ago due to lack of funds.

The project started with two buses for city-wide transport, each of which can accommodate 45 people, with an average of five trips per day, and with two main lines. The number of trips will be increased within the coming days if the diesel fuel is made available and its price drops, according to Issa.

The buses were an instant success from the first day. Each of them transported more than a thousand passengers, and the number doubled over the following days.

The project was reactivated at a time when fuel prices increased as a result of the high exchange rate of the Syrian pound (SYP) against the dollar, and the closure of roads of fuel coming from oil fields in north-eastern Syria,

The high fuel prices decreased the use of public and private transportation by the residents of Idlib. For this reason, the reactivation of the activities of the projects was indisputable humanitarian obligation, according to Violet.

The organization also referred to an additional plan to expand the project in the city.

New buses will run from multiple stops in Idlib city to the countryside of Idlib and vice versa in the services of the citizens. However, the continuation of the project depends on the availability of funds offered by the donor organization supporting the project.

How does it work?

The organization kept the buses free of charge due to the great need of the residents of Idlib, amid aggravated circumstances.

The bus lines passes through major points within the city, and they mainly transport school and university students and workers. The buses also run through the markets to transport people with disabilities and old people who are unable to move or walk in the city’s neighborhoods.

Buses are scheduled to work from 7am to 2pm and they cover the main neighborhoods of the city, and pass through sensitive facilities such as hospitals, markets and universities. Moreover, buses arrive regularly between specific stops,.

Idlib lacks the means of public transportation, and most of the people move with difficulty inside the city. On the other hand, transportation is available in the countryside, but at high prices. School and college students inside the city made contract with the owners and drivers of the transportation means (buses and vehicles) in exchange for a monthly income.

Taxi fares are not subject to any price control due to the instability of the exchange rate of the Syrian pound.  The trip fare, which was estimated at 500 SYP (0,99), went up to an amount between 700 (1.40) and 1,000 SYP (1.97).

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