The neighborhood of “20 January” is the heart of Baku’s bustling traffic. Taxis competing for their next passenger, buses, drivers offering a private transfer in a luxury car to any of the country’s towns, rushing city residents and also city’s own dwellers’ cars - you name it.
These days however, as the city is host to the first European Games, “20 January” is the quietest it has ever been. “I wonder whether I am in the right place” said one resident in an interview with Azadliq Radiosu when commenting on the absence of the usual chaos.
“Normally, this area will be overcrowded with cars, buses and have massive jams. But these days it is nice and comfortable”, said another Baku resident passing through the area. But residents are sure; the chaos of traffic and noise will be back once the games are over.
As of June 1, all official entrance points to the capital are closed to the cars with plate numbers from the outside towns. Most of the drivers bringing in passengers must stop at designated areas, which require locals make considerable effort getting into town. This explains the absence of the usual chaos in this neighborhood where often passengers get dropped off.
While the neighborhood is clean from traffic jams however, it is the residents who are having difficulty getting into the city. The limited transportation options for accessing the city is forcing the residents to use more transport means while for others it bas become virtually impossible to get into the capital.
But it is not just the passengers who are complaining. Taxi drivers say their per day income decreased by almost half. “We have lost our usual spots. Now police does not let us stand where we normally park our cars and wait for the passengers. Because of these limits my daily revenue has gone from 40manats to 15 -20manats”, said one taxi driver in an interview with Azadliq Radiosu.
The police patrolling the streets say even once the games are over, the traffic will remain this way. Residents disagree.
All of the transportation and traffic limitations effective as of June 1, end July 1.
Baku is the host of the first European Games this year. The official closing ceremony is June 28.