Since the demise of the Soviet Union, urban transport services in the Kyrgyz Republic have deteriorated badly and are increasingly incapable of satisfying public demand. The urban transport system is characterized by the use of old, inefficient vehicles, increasing penetration by private operators, decreasing quality of the publicly owned system, shortages and overcrowding, and inadequate road infrastructure in peri-urban areas. Currently, publicly owned and operated services are available primarily in the capital, Bishkek. Outside the capital city most services have been transferred to jointstock companies. Private operators provide a variety of transport services in Bishkek and other urban areas.
Whether publicly or privately provided, however, the services are not satisfactory to users; urban residents view the lack of service and irregularity on some routes as a constraint to their ability to work. Inadequate roads pose problems to bus drivers and the owners of private vehicles. The Kyrgyz Government is concerned about this situation and has requested World Bank assistance. As currently envisioned, the proposed project would focus on three major cities: Bishkek, the capital city; Osh, the largest city of South Kyrgyzstan; and Jalal-Abad, located 50 kilometers from Osh.