In early June 2018 marshrutka-project researchers Wladimir Sgibnev and Lela Rekhviashvili published a paper on “Placing Transport Workers on the Agenda: The Conflicting Logics of Governing Mobility on Bishkek’s Marshrutkas” at Antipode, A Radical Journal of Geography.
Transport workers are conspicuously absent from both mobilities and urban studies literature. This paper therefore starts out with a double critique. First, transport workers, primarily drivers, are largely disregarded in mobilities and urban transport research. Second, the literature we find on transport workers—mostly based in empirical settings in the global South—remains outside recent and ongoing debates in critical urban transport studies. Providing empirical insights from post‐Soviet Central Asia, this paper strives to close these gaps and delve into the struggles and cleavages that structure informal transport workers’ positions and livelihoods. We argue that the diverse and contradictory logics that govern urban mobility affect the livelihoods and working conditions of informal transport workers, as well as their choices and motivations. These, in turn, significantly shape mobility provision, in terms of urban transport’s (lack of) affordability, accessibility, convenience and safety.
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