EghtesadOnline: In nine months since the beginning of the current fiscal in March an estimated 1.4 million vehicles approached the technical inspection centers in Tehran.
Following the Air Pollution Reduction (APR) scheme launched by Tehran Municipality in September, car owners rushed to the inspection centers to get their vehicles checked, head of Tehran Vehicle Technical Inspection Bureau Navab Hosseini told Mehr News Agency.
As per the latest scheme, implemented by TM on Nov. 24 to help improve air quality, dilapidated vehicles are banned in the sprawling city and violators are fined.
"Over the nine months 1.36 million vehicles were checked for technical conformity with emission standards. More than 200,000 tests were conducted in the past [Iranian] month [ending Dec. 21]," Financial Tribune quoted Hosseini as saying.
All four and two-wheelers in the metropolis must go for the inspections and acquire conformity cards showing that the vehicle is road worthy.
During the period some 2,400 heavy-duty vehicles with diesel engines were checked, some 23% of the vehicles were not able to pass the tests.
The APR scheme is a phased plan launched by TM in 2015 to reduce the level of dirty air in the capital that has seen a monstrous increase in the number of cars and motorbikes – many unfit for the road.
The first part took effect in October 2016 involving technical inspection controls in restricted traffic zones -- an 80 sqm area in central Tehran in which only public transport and cars with special permits are allowed to enter during working hours.
The second phase, now underway, covers a much wider area and bans cars, buses, and heavy vehicles without technical inspection from entering the metropolis.
According to numbers reported by the TM, the scheme is doing relatively well in banning clunkers from entering the city. However, there are still unsolved problems, such as the dilapidated buses that have undermined the crucial plan from producing the desired results.
Hundreds of dilapidated buses work for the capital's public transport system. According to Peiman Sanandaji, head of Tehran Bus Company, at least 11,000 buses are needed for decent services.
Tehran is home to 12 million people and public transport has simply not kept pace with the population explosion despite the fact that many families are leaving the capital as home prices, rents and the cost of living rise as never before.
Sanandaji says, “Tehran’s public transport fleet has 6,200 buses, over 60% are dilapidated and must be dispatched to the scrap yard. Some of the buses are over two decades old and have long outlived their usefulness.”
Buses made less than 10 years ago should be checked every six months while older ones must get tested every three months to ensure technical conformity. “This is something that seldom happens in the overcrowded capital.”
Almost 3.8 million urban trips, out of 19 million made every day in Tehran, are made by public buses. Despite the critical need and role of buses, most of these big vehicles are old contributing terribly to the air pollution, more so in the winter season.
Pointing to the state of the national economy Sanandaji says since Iran cannot afford to import new buses, there is little if any hope for renovating the public transport fleet.
Air pollution is the world's fourth leading cause of fatality and Iran is no exception. According to the Legal Medicine Organization, during the fiscal that ended in March, 12,000 air pollution-related deaths were recorded in Iran with one-third of the fatalities in the capital.