Russian Mini Bus

Russian mini bus 1

In most of Russian cities this GAZ mini buses are the most common means of people transportation. Millions of them run on the Russian streets carrying people. The GAZ buses are used because they are extremely cheap, new vehicle costs only about $4000 and this cost is covered in two months. Most of the drivers are migrants from the Southern ex-Soviet countries (Azerbajan, Armenia etc) even sometimes without a proper driver’s license and they all get the share of the daily amount they earn with this mini-bus so they often make real races with each other to pickup the passengers from the bus-stops. Russian people realize all the dangers of such transportation and often hate it but there is no really other alternative – only big public buses which you have to wait up to 30 minutes on the bus-stop while those small things come each second minute, so people use it..

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29 thoughts on “Russian Mini Bus”

    • This silly attempt to play the “first” game is not from the same “Visitor” who has been posting on this forum–that would be me.

      I suppose I should start using a specific name, but even then I guess someone could use it.

  1. With the prices the author was mistaken
    New mini bus GAZ costs 13000$.
    At us in a city (Nizhni Novgorod) buses the PAZ (it is developed during Soviet time as the bus for village, but its capacity and cost it has appeared very convenient for private carriers) always were more widespread.
    Last years the city has bought about 1000 buses LiAz and MAZ.
    So to wait the big bus at a stop it is necessary no more than 10 minutes

  2. Those “Gazel” buses – when you buy them outside of Russia they are not that cheap, really. While still cheaper then Western analogues.

    Some people use them here in Latvia. I just wonder why. They are much less economic and the quality of manufacturing is noticeably lower. Vehicles start to rust really soon and are emitting more noise than they should. Overall pathetic.

    I guess it is mainly petty Russian businessmen who buy them here, possibly are guided by pseudo-patriotic feelings – “if I am Russian, I shall buy Russian produce”

    I would say that you should better invest in a decent Volkswagen or Mercedes minivan than in this piece of junk.

    • I think it is the wide-spread short term planning Russians use in general. No-one bothers about what things will look like in 2-5 years time, they have to invest something NOW and they have to make money NOW [and as QUICK as possible, too!]. Better one bird in the hand than ten in the air, right ?

      It is a mentality problem. This results in pretty awful outcome quite often. Long term planning gives at first hardly noticeable returns, but in the long run you build a prosperous and success-full longlasting business. Most of W-European and American successfull enterprises are the end result of exactly that: long term vision.

  3. Hahaha this is nothing, in my country, South Africa, we have those buses plus the smaller one, and we put maybe 50 black people in the big one like above and maybe 60 in the smaller one. The drivers are also very good, they stop in the middle of traffic to collect or release passengers, cut across 6 lanes of highway in one go and patch the buses with sticks, tree’s and chewing gum when the wheels start coming off.
    A trip costs 50 cents US and it goes in a single road, so to get anywhere you catch a few of them.

    • the one time I was in Russia, this was my means of transport. And left me thinking it was official…

      @Sibusiso: verstaan jij afrikaans?

    • Been there and compared to what S-African drivers do, the Russians are just pussies.

      I remember one guy removed the steering wheel to increase passenger-space. He replaced it with a wrench, which he controlled with one hand. His brake pedal was mostly gone and replaced with a piece of cardboard pinched on the metal shaft.

      He was leaning out of the window while driving in order to maximize the amount of space in his van [which had no windows BTW]. People were transporting chickens, goats, groceries and whatnot on their trips…
      And for all Dutch/Afrikaans speaking readers:
      wat je noemt gekkenwerk, mensen. het ‘spoedtoezicht’ werkte niet goed bovendien.

  4. All so called “taxis” or “marshrutki” drive these vans. They drive like crazy. I think in my home town they account for the most number of accidents.
    Problem is each one is privately owned, so the driver, aka the owner, wants to make as many trips in a given day as possible.

    • P.S. The car is unreliable but really durable. I was in a car accident a while ago. I was in a passenger seat of one of these. We hit a car that tried to turn left in front of use at like 60kmh at least. The other car was totaled. The only damage that our van sustained was a bumper scratch.

  5. No way would I even think about getting on a communal bus numbered 666…especially since seeing the photos of all the totalled ones!

    • Can’t you see it’s a funeral, dood… =D

      It was a kind of protest march. The wording on the coffin reads “route taxi”.
      The Governor of St. Pete’s set up very strict regulations for the minicoach companies so smaller ones were about to go bankrupt. Actually not companies but gangs of asian guys with their rusty monsters like ones shown above. Now most of the cars are in very good condition and drivers are licensed and even speak understand Russian sometimes LOL

  6. In Mexico they call these “cambios”. “Cambio” means “change” or “coins”, the coins valued at less than a dollar (or peso) because people only use them to go short distances (5-10 miles) they generally cost only the coins in your pocket.


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