EghtesadOnline: Tehran Metro will be extended to Eslamshahr, a working district in the southwest, to help residents commute easier and reduce the traffic congestion. Construction will commence next week.
The subway so far comprises seven lines with 100 stations (lines 3, 6 and 7 are yet to be completed).
The nearest subway station is 17km from the central areas of Eslamshahr county. This has made daily travel a difficult task for the people who work or study in other faraway parts of the overcrowded province, Tasnim news agency reported.
According to Financial Tribune, County Mayor Hossein Tala says, “To address the issue, Eslamshahr Municipality wants to extend Line 3 of the subway another 15km from Azadegan Junction. Work will be completed in three years.”
Plans call for building two new stations, one in Chahardangeh and the other in central Eslamshahr.
Finance and implementation of the extension project, proposed in 2010, was assigned to Tehran Municipality. While within Tehran Province, Eslamshahr is located outside of the borders of Tehran City. According to the municipality's rules and regulations, TM is not allowed to invest in development projects outside the city of Tehran. Therefore, although feasibility studies were carried out in 2010, the project was suspended.
Subway construction costs vary in different countries depending on land value, construction costs and raw material prices.
For instance, Madrid's Metrosur line is 41km-long with 28 stations. It was completed in four years for about $58million per kilometer. Singapore’s Circle Line runs 35km with 28 stations and cost $4.8 billion, or $130 million/km.
In Iran, construction of subway lines on average costs $15.8 million per kilometer. Therefore, expansion of the subway to downtown Eslamshahr is estimated to cost $237 million.
"The issue was discussed by municipal managers at the weekend and it was decided that the project should continue under the auspices of Eslamshar and Chahardangeh municipalities. The government will support the initiative," Tala said without elaboration.
Monstrous Traffic, Air Pollution
Eslamshahr mayor is of the opinion that the subway project can and should help the county curb air pollution and the irritating traffic it has been struggling with for years.
“In the long-term, such major projects will help Eslamshahr attract urban development investors,” he adds, noting that the nerve-racking traffic and the permanent smog in Eslamshahr has worsened knocking on the doors of the municipality to find solutions that can deliver.
In November the local municipality drew on the ‘Air Pollution Reduction’ scheme underway in the capital. As per the scheme, all smog-inducing and dilapidated vehicles lacking the mandatory technical inspections will be banned.
The APR scheme in Tehran is reportedly doing well in controlling air pollution.
Public Transportation Pivotal
Efficient public transportation has always been pivotal to curbing traffic and air pollution. The new Tehran Mayor Pirouz Hanachi says "Expanding the subway is key to curbing air pollution and safeguarding the people’s wellbeing."
Traffic in Tehran and its satellite cities has become something very close to torture and at times agonizing, particularly during rush hours. The growing population, poor public transport and use of private vehicles on a large scale have created conditions not many can bear and families are slowly but steadily moving out and looking for home and work in other cities.
The bad pollution becomes worse in winter when the freezing temperature and air pollution join hands to make living and working a challenging enterprise.
However, it gives some relief to see that subway commute has increased significantly in recent years and now four million people use the trains every day. Tehran Municipality expects the number to climb by a massive 25% after subway lines 6 and 7 are up and running.
But this is definitely not enough for Tehran, in which, according to statistics, over 15 million people commute every day, many from the surrounding cities and towns. Projects like expansion of the subway to downtown Eslamshahr are expected to make life easier for those who use public transport to and from work.