Azerbaijan launches regular bus trips to liberated lands
By Sabina Mammadli
Azerbaijan will launch regular intercity bus trips in the Baku-Shusha, Baku-Aghdam, Ahmadbayli-Shusha, Fuzuli International Airport-Shusha, Barda-Aghdam directions starting from January 24.
Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Digital Development and Transport Rahman Hummatov made the remarks at a press conference in Baku.
He noted that the Ahmadbayli-Shusha trips will be organized four times a week while the trips to other destinations twice a week.
The head of the Land Transport Agency under the Digital Development and Transport Ministry, Anar Rzayev, added that citizens will be allowed to visit Azerbaijan's liberated regions only once a year.
Rzayev stressed that passengers will be provided with personal accident insurance.
Certain privileged people will have the opportunity to get free tickets to these destinations once a year. This category includes heroes of the Great Patriotic War, national heroes, members of the families of martyrs and veterans of the Karabakh war, he said.
The cost of tickets for trips on the Baku-Shusha-Baku route will be 10.4 AZN ($6.1), Baku-Aghdam-Baku - 9.4 AZN ($5.5), Ahmadbayli-Shusha - 7 AZN ($4.1), Fuzuli International Airport-Shusha – 6 AZN ($3.5). The prices are shown for one-way trips.
The buses will depart from Baku at 0630 (GMT +4), and from Ahmadbayli and Barda at 1000.
The tickets will be sold online via the website yolumuzqarabaga.az. To ensure safety, the passengers will be insured, and the movement of buses will be monitored by a GPS system. The Azerbaijan Mine Action Agency will ensure security along the bus routes.
At the first stage, only Azerbaijani citizens will be able to visit the Karabakh region, Hummatov said.
“Foreign citizens may be allowed to visit the liberated territories in the future. As for our citizens, the priority will be given to those who were fighting during the first and second Karabakh wars, their family members, as well as members of martyr families, citizens older 60,” the deputy minister added.
Police cars will accompany passenger buses, which will run through the Azerbaijani lands, liberated from Armenian occupation, Eldaniz Mammadov, deputy head of the Interior Ministry's main public security department, said.
“A police officer will be also in each shuttle bus. Throughout the entire trip, passengers will see a video instruction on safety in the liberated territories,” he said.
Mammadov added that the citizens without COVID-19 passports will be unable to buy the tickets for the bus trips.
The activity of the Coordination Headquarters, created under the presidential order on November 24, 2020, to resolve issues in Azerbaijan's liberated territories continues in line with the strategic directions and tasks set by President Aliyev to rebuild those lands, Hummatov underlined.
The deputy minister added that one of the main points of purposeful activity to rehabilitate the liberated territories is to ensure the rapid and safe return of Azerbaijani citizens to their native lands.
“The issue of launching regular bus trips becomes relevant in connection with the process of organizing the regular trips for people from different social groups to the territories liberated from occupation, huge restoration work and a big number of employees who are sent there on the basis of a corresponding permit,” Hummatov added.
He noted that for this purpose, at the first stage, a decision was made to launch regular bus trips to the most popular destinations, taking into account the safety of traffic and passengers.
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