Transport in Mongolia

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The transportation system in Mongolia consists of a network of railways, roads, waterways, and airports.

Railways[edit]

Traders in Zamyn-Üüd station, Dornogovi aimag

The Trans-Mongolian Railway connects the Trans-Siberian Railway from Ulan Ude in Russia to Erenhot and Beijing in China through the capital Ulan Bator. The Mongolian section of this line runs for 1110 km.[1] A spur line connects Darkhan to the copper mines of Erdenet; another spur line connects Ulaanbaatar with the coal mines of Baganuur. A separate railway line exists in the east of the country between Choibalsan and the Trans-Siberian at Borzya; however, that line is closed to passengers beyond the Mongolian town of Chuluunkhoroot.[2] For domestic transport, daily trains run from Ulaanbaatar to Darkhan, Sukhbaatar, and Erdenet, as well as Zamyn-Üüd, Choir and Sainshand. Mongolia uses the 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 2732 in) (Russian gauge) track system. The total length of the system 1,810 km.[3] In 2007, rail transport carried 93% of Mongolian freight and 43% of passenger turnover (in tons*km and passenger*km, respectively).[4]

Roadways[edit]

In 2007, only about 2600 km of Mongolia's road network were paved. Another 3900 km are graveled or otherwise improved. This network of paved roads was expanded to 4,800 km in 2013, with 1,800 km completed in the last year alone.[5] This included the roads from Ulaanbaatar to the Russian and Chinese borders, paved road from Ulaanbaatar to Kharkhorin and Bayankhongor, another going south to Mandalgovi, and a partly parallel road from Lün to Dashinchilen, as well as the road from Darkhan to Bulgan via Erdenet. The vast majority of Mongolia's official road network, some 40,000 km, are simple cross-country tracks.[6][7] Construction is underway on an east-west road (the so-called Millennium Road) that incorporates the already existing road from Ulaanbaatar to Arvaikheer, and on the extension of the Darkhan-Bulgan road beyond Bulgan.[8] Private bus and minibus companies offer service from Ulaanbaatar to most aimag centers.[9]

Bus[edit]

Buses are the main mode of public transportation in Ulan Bator. There is no set time table, but buses pass bus stops at approximately 15 minute intervals. Buses runs between 7:00am and 10:00pm. In July, 2013 Ulaanbaatar Urban Transport Service together with Chinggis Khaan International Airport launched airport express bus connecting the international airport and downtown area. However, the service had been stopped as of September 2013 for unknown period.[10] There is bus communication between cities of Mongolia offering buses of all sizes from minivans to large coach buses (usually up to 45 seats).

Taxi[edit]

There are few licensed taxi companies such as Ulaanbaatar taxi (1991),[11] Noyon taxi (1950),[12] Telecom taxi (1109),[13] 1616 taxi (1616) [14] operating in Ulaanbaatar and few local taxi companies in smaller cities such as Darkhan, Erdenet, Baganuur and Zuunmod, but there are many drivers with private unlicensed cars who act as taxis. A typical fare is MNT 700-800 per kilometer, however, taxi drivers tend to ask for more especially if the client is a foreign national. Official taxis with proper markings are allowed to drive without plate number restrictions on the first lane of Ulaanbaatar's central road usually reserved for large public transports such as buses and trolleybuses from October, 2013.[15]

Waterways[edit]

Mongolia has a total of 580 km of waterways, but only Lake Khövsgöl has ever been heavily used. The Selenge (270 km) and Orkhon (175 km) rivers are navigable but carry little traffic, although a customs boat patrols the Selenge to the Russian border. Lake Khovsgol has charter boats for tourists.[16] The lakes and rivers freeze over in the winter and are usually open between May and September.

Air transportation[edit]

MIAT Mongolian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER JU-1011 SVO Jan 2012
Aircraft of two Mongolian domestic airlines in ULN

As of 2012, most airports of 21 aimag centers of Mongolia have paved runways. However those closest to Ulaanbaatar lack scheduled air service.

Chinggis Khaan International Airport outside of Ulaanbaatar is the major airport in Mongolia that offers international flights. There are also other airports that have international status such as the ones in Choibalsan and Khovd towns that connect nearby Chinese cities of Ürümqi, Hailar, Erenhot and Manzhouli although they are more popular among local population.

As of 2013, numerous domestic air carriers such as MIAT Mongolian Airlines, Eznis Airways, Aero Mongolia, Hunnu Air as well as international air carriers such as Aeroflot, Korean Air, Air China and Turkish Airlines are offering their scheduled services. All domestic airlines except MIAT Mongolian Airlines provide regular air service between Ulaanbaatar and aimag centers. Domestic flights are operated using Fokker 50, Saab 340 (EZNis discontinued to use these aircraft as of late 2013 - early 2014 [17]), Airbus 319 and Bombardier Q400 aircraft.

Ulaanbaatar can be accessed by air with regular flights from such world major cities as Moscow, Berlin, Frankfurt, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai (discontinued in October, 2013 and to be resumed on June, 2014 [18][19]), Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka (served only in summer time), Bangkok, Istanbul and Bishkek.[20] In June, 2014 Hunnu Air launched its previously announced flight to Paris.[21]

In 2013 the first purely air cargo operator was registered at the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia and is planned to commence its operation in 2014.[22]

References[edit]

External links[edit]