Public Transport in Turkestan
HOP (Halıq Oyış Panarısı) is the name given in Turkestan to local public transportation systems, particularly road-based ones such as buses, marşrutas, trolleybuses and trams. The name, literally meaning "people-moving system", originally referred to the oldest and most extensive public transport system in Turkestan, in the capital Buxara, but came to be applied to all such integrated city-wide mass transit systems, so that in modern Turkestan, all city-wide public transport systems are known as HOPs.
Normal procedure in Turkestan is that most if not all of the local public transport services in a given city will be run by a single umbrella company. In larger cities, the buses, trams and trolleybuses may be operated by different subsidiary companies, but even this is not always the case. This system of organisation allows for greater integration of public transport services in an area.
Types of Mass Transit System:
In Turkestan, local railways fall under the authority of the National Rail Network company, not the local umbrella organisation. However, the two work closely together, and great effort is put in to avoid conflicts in scheduling.
Local suburban rail subsidiaries do have their own distinctive liveries, but all of them are owned by the Turkestan Rail Network.
Buses are the most congestion-prone and most polluting of the various systems of mass transit; they are also by far the cheapest, and require no additional infrastructure in terms of rails, dedicated lanes, overhead power cables or the like. Most bus networks operate only regular buses; only Almalıq, Buxara and Bişkek currently operate additional special articulated buses like the one shown here.
A Russian invention, the marshrutka (Turkestani: marşruta) is a bus or minibus that operates largely like a taxi. Marşrutas run on a bus-like route, but do not stop unless requested. People waiting by the roadside can flag one down, and people on board may request that the driver stop. Marşrutas are usually independently-run, not part of the city's HOP company.
Trolleybuses are like regular buses, but are electrically-operated, deriving their power from overhead cables. They are more efficient and cleaner than regular buses, but require more infrastructure. They are also more flexible than trams, in that the connection with the overhead cable can turn independently of the vehicle, allowing the trolleybus to travel in whichever traffic lane it needs to.
Turkestan has several fairly extensive tram networks in its major cities, including a couple of new tram systems (in Taraz and Almalıq) where the trams themselves have rubber-tyred wheels and run on the roads with just a small central guide rail to keep the trams on course. These "road trams" do not replace more traditional "rail trams"; rather, they are another addition to the already extensive HOP systems.
Several of the "tram" systems are actually somewhat akin to light rail systems for at least part of their length; running on separate tracks in the medians of some of the larger roads rather than within the traffic lanes. The various systems are variable in this respect.
Buxara, Almalıq, Samarqand, Aşğabat and Qaşgar also utilise small autogiro air taxis for very rapid intraurban and suburban transport. These are a very new development, and are administered separately from the main HOP systems. They are moderately expensive, and are used mostly by rich tourists wanting to see the great cities of Turkestan from the air in a more up-close-and-personal way than is possible from a long-haul dirigible.
Largest HOP Systems of Turkestan
- The oldest and most extensive HOP system in the country is in the capital. It is run by the HOP Buxara company, and includes trams, trolleybuses and regular buses in the company's mandate. The city also has good local rail services and several marşruta firms.
- Operated by AlmaTrans company, the HOP network of Almalıq includes rail trams and road-going trams, buses and trolleybuses under the aegis of AlmaTrans, several marşruta firms, and a small autogiro air taxi service.
- Bişkek's HOP systems are operated by Bişkek Sayahat. Sayahat runs the trams, trolleybuses and regular buses, and also operates the largest of the city's several marşruta companies.
- Aşğabat's HOP network includes trams, trolleybuses and regular buses, and is operated by the Globus company. It also operates an elevated monorail between the city centre and the international aerodrome.