Bishkek will be one of the main locations of your trips around Kyrgyzstan. You spend the time here and get prepared for your trips or you chill-out in the city after the amazing experience in the regions. The city has something to offer and you will move around the city often. Even though the city centre is quite small, you can use the local public transport to move around. And public transport can be a specific experience, which you should try.
Travelling around Bishkek is quite easy and offers the variety of opportunities. Bishkek is quite a small city and transport is cheap. Unofficially transport has a specific hierarchy among local people. The trolley bus is at the bottom of this hierarchy and taxi or own car is at its top.
TROLLEYS and BUSES
For the majority of foreigners, these are the more comfortable version of public transport. They run along the main streets and avenues of the city and usually, you can find the bus, which takes you to your destination.
Enter the bus through the middle or back door and take your sit. When you reach your bus stop, get off the bus through front doors. Before leaving pay 8 KGS per pax to the bus driver. It’s better not to pay with banknotes otherwise, the change from the driver will fill up your pockets with a bunch of coins.
Marshrutka is the most common and popular public transport in Bishkek. The network of marshrutkas’ lines covers the whole city very well. If you get into empty and new one, it’s a quite comfortable way of transport. The standard fee for marshrutka is 10 KGS, after 9 pm it is 12 KGS. The fee to distant suburbs of city is 25 KGS (Dordoi bazaar, Kashka-Suu). For the drive, you pay to the driver when you enter the bus.
Marshrutkas stop at the bus stop. But if you are in hurry, you can step at the side of the road and wave to the bus driver. Majority of bus drivers will stop.
ORIENTATION in the LINES of TRANSPORT
It’s better to check your line in advance otherwise, it can be difficult to choose the bus at the bus stop. The best is to navigate yourself and choose the proper line at website bus.kg or by their app (iOS, Android). Currently, the app works just for the territory of Bishkek, but it works in an offline regime, which makes it quite easy to use.
No timetables at bus stops. There is no timetable at the bus stop and it may seem that the buses are coming randomly. But both types of transport mentioned above have their schedule. Buses are coming approximately every 15 minutes. Trolleys and buses run from the 6 am till 8 pm. Marshrutkas run from 5 am to 10-11pm.
Be polite. There are some polite habits in the transport. You should let the older person sit down, and man should offer his seat to a woman. Bishkek’s transport is one of the places, where these polite rules work. Young people usually take the sit at the back of the bus and front rows are there for elders.
Watch your bags and pockets. Pickpocketing is not very common in public transport, but you should be careful and keep your stuff close to you. Especially during the rush hours, when buses and marshrutkas are crowded, you should take care of your bags and pockets.
Marshrutkas are crowded. Public transport in Bishkek is usually quite crowded. Specifically during the rush hours. Marshrutkas are small, which can create a discomfort for taller persons.
Taxi services are well established in the city. Of course, you can take a taxi from the street and many individual taxi drivers will offer you their services as soon as they see you. But it’s faster, safer and cheaper to order the taxi from some taxi services.
The other option to order the taxi is to send the sms with the address of your current location to number 9797 (Namba taxi) or 1236 and 1424 (SMS taxi). But this option requires local number and SIM card.
Boarding fee for these taxi services is 50-60 KGS and 10-12 KGS for each kilometre, which makes it quite available way of transport around Bishkek.
Even though the public transport in Bishkek is quite specific, it can help you to get to your destination relatively quickly and cheaply.