EghtesdadOnline: Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi says the subway’s Line 7 was launched in haste, flaunts safety rules and will be closed down in the coming days.
“It will take at least take six months of hard work to make the line operational and safe,” the Persian-language newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad reported.
Earlier, the Interior Ministry in a letter said the new line was insecure and called on the relevant authorities to shut it down. Najafi says, “The line should have been halted earlier. However, the welcome accorded to the line by the residents of the capital made the municipality rather reluctant to shut it down.”
Line 7 of the Tehran Metro has been an unending saga since its partial opening on June 10. Tehran Municipality, under former mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, stands accused by public transport experts and independent urban planners of “rushing” to open the line with little regard to safety protocols and acceptable international standards.
Tehran City Council has been reviewing the case. Rahmatollah Hafezi, the council chairman, is a staunch critic who has often warned about the safety issues that put passenger lives at risk. “There is no proper ventilation system along the 22-km line,” he has been quoted as saying.
He takes not of the fact that the distance between two stations is six km, and in the “event of mishap there is no escape route and commuters will have to walk along the unventilated tunnel to reach the nearest exit.”
The elected city council, which until the recent past was a strong backer of the controversial former mayor, finally caved in to media pressure and let Hafezi, along with Mohsen Sorkhu, chairman of the council’s Urban Traffic and Transport Committee inspect Line 7 in mid-July.
As per the Tehran Municipality’s five-year plan (March 2013-18), Line 7, which connects the capital’s northwestern flank to the southeastern parts, was scheduled for completion by 2015, but after nearly two years only seven stations have been opened and that too with many problems.
According to the Najafi, expanding Tehran’s public transport network is on top of the municipality’s agenda. Some 1,000 subway cars will be purchased in the upcoming months, he has said. At least 2,000 cars need to be added to Tehran’s Metro system.
The city’s subway system comprises six main lines (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 – line 3 and 7 have yet to be completed) with nearly 100 stations. Line 6 is still under construction. According to Tehran Metro officials, after completion of the projects the subway system will have the capacity to carry up to 9 million passengers every day from the current 3 million.