New municipal payment card to be introduced in Baku
Baku Card, a new and official payment card for Baku city will be introduced in the near future. Card holders will receive discounts and special offers in shops, will be able to visit Baku’s museums and various cultural centers, as well as use public transport for free or at a discount.
The Azerbaijani National Tourism Promotion Bureau, the Baku Transport Agency and the PASHA Travel company held a presentation of the city card on 27 February. The new Baku Card is primarily designed for tourists, but it can be used by locals as well.
-A 24-hour card will cost AZN 35 (EUR 17.50);
-A 72-hour card will be available for AZN 60 (EUR 30);
-A seven-day card will cost AZN 90 (EUR 45).
The relatively high cost of the city card has actively been discussed on social media. One Facebook user noted that a similar weekly card is available in Berlin for just EUR 30 despite the fact that the German capital has rather high public transport fares and, unlike Baku, there are a great variety of interesting museums there.
Kenan Guluzadeh, a spokesperson for the Tourism Promotion Bureau commented as follows:
“The price has been formed based on a service package, with due account for market opportunities.”
When asked whether a tender was held or not, Guluzadeh answered as follows:
“There wasn’t any tender at all. We announced the development of the city card back in late 2016, when the President endorsed ‘road maps for tourism development in Azerbaijan’. Since that time we have received just one proposal from the PASHA Travel company, which has been taken as a basis.”
The PASHA Travel Company is part of PASHA Holding. According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) the Azerbaijani President’s father-in-law, Arif Pashaev, is one of the holding’s major stakeholders.