A new bus service has been launched between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The first busses bound to the Uzbek capital Tashkent have already left from Shymkent. The route is 145 kilometers, an average travel time is 3 hours. The new route will increase the flow of tourists between the neighboring countries, and help boost local economies, experts believe.

SERGEY MUTIN, JOURNALIST:

 - This bus service is the link between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It is in demand. We are the first passengers traveling along this route. We have not been in Shymkent for many years. We are looking forward to experiencing the local culture again.

The busses run regularly and daily from 6 am to 8 pm, with an interval of one hour. Buses and passengers will pass customs inspection and border control without regular queues. Customs inspection and border control is implemented at checkpoints of the two countries "Gisht Kuprik" and "Zhibek Zholy".

ERBOL SIRGABEKOV, ACTING HEAD, SOUTHERN KAZAKHSTAN TRANSPORTATION INSPECTION DEPARTMENT:

 - The bus will pass through the "green corridor". This reduces the time of passing the border control, there will be no obstacles, no need to stand in line. Under the agreement, the border control will take 15-20 minutes.

The regular bus service has been renewed first time in 17 years. Twenty thousand people cross the Kazakh-Uzbek border daily. The new transport link will only increase this flow. Moreover, the international route, had opened as part of a joint agreement, and provides a number of advantages for passengers.

SHOALIM SHOVAKHABOV, DEPUTY HEAD, AUTOMOBILE AND RIVER TRANSPORT AGENCY OF UZBEKISTAN:

 - We have Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Kokand in Uzbekistan, and you have Turkistan. We want to launch buses between these cities. I think tourism between our countries will develop, as well as the cultural ties between the Kazakh and Uzbek people.

Uzbekistan is the second Central Asian country that launched bus services with Kazakhstan. Ten bus services such as Almaty-Bishkek, Almaty-Cholpon-Ata, and Karaganda-Cholpon-Ata operate between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as well.

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