By train, by bus or by plane
Air transportation increases by more than 25 percent but ‘terrestrial’ options remain competitive
By Mikhail Osokin
According to the National Statistical Committee of Belarus, passenger air transport has risen in volume by 27 percent, while trains have increased their passengers by 1.5 percent and bus transportation has fallen in popularity by 3.5 percent. These figures are an impartial indictor of the recovery of the domestic economy and growing competition within the transport branch.
“High road transport competition has been observed previously,” notes the Chairman of the Belarusian Association of Experts and Transport Surveyors, Yury Vazhnik. “It’s been difficult for buses to compete with the railway, which offers competitive prices for passenger transportation. However, prices for railway tickets have risen slightly and air travel is now another viable option for long-distance journeys.”
Actually, the number of transit passengers flying through Belarus is constantly growing, while the National Belavia Airline continues to promote special offers. For example, a flight to Sochi can be bought for as little as 146 Euros (Br1,600,000 — compared to Br1.6-1.8 million by train, which takes over two days). Belavia’s Moscow-Minsk route costs as little as 77 Euros (Br860,000 — compared to Br720,000-Br1m by train, which rises to Br1.5-2m for a private compartment).
Bus and coach drivers have no need to worry, since bus journeys still account for the lion’s share of passenger transportations: 94.5 percent. Of 122.5 million people transported in Belarus this January, 115.8 million took buses, as they remain the most ‘all-pervading’ and are competitively priced, compared to the railway. A night flight from Minsk to Moscow costs about Br335,000 at present, while the cheapest economy class coach journey by day costs Br380,000. It’s great to have choice.