Marat Terterov: Armenia’s long term security will be better served by strengthening economic security, rather than defining national security on the basis of the Tsarist Russian catch-cry “armiya i flot”
In 2012 the South Caucasus Railway is planning to increase is passenger traffic to Georgia to 50,000 against 42,300 in 2011, Acting CEO of South Caucasus Railway Marat Khakov said on Friday while seeing off this year's first Yerevan-Batumi (Georgia) train.
He said that due to the last years' investments in the renovation of the company's rolling stock and rail infrastructure, the speed of the trains and the passenger traffic are stably growing: in 2009 the company carried 16,263 passengers, in 2010 - 40,304. Today "Armenia" train needs just 16 hours 10 minutes to go from Yerevan to Batumi against 20 hours in 2008.
Khakov said that the key novelty of this year is online ticket sales.
Armenia's Transport and Communication Minister Manuk Vardanyan said that the company has made its services better and safer. "Today our railways are much better than they were a few years ago. The trains are much better, while the prices have been left almost unchanged," the Minister said.
Five carriages have been added to "Armenia" train this year. If need be, the total number of the carriages may be increased to 17. The average speed is 60-70 km/h against 25-40 km/h a few years ago.
The train will operate on a daily basis till Sept 30. The price of the first-class saloon has been reduced by 10% to 24,000 AMD. Third-class sleeper will cost 10,000 AMD, compartment car - 14,000 AMD, special compartment car - 16,000 AMD.
South Caucasus Railway is 100% subsidiary of Russian Railways. Feb 13 2008 it was given a 30-year concession to Armenian Railways.