EghtesadOnline: Tehran’s mayor on Monday outlined the municipality’s public transportation expansion plans saying that two subway lines now under construction will open partially in the near future.
Pirouz Hanachi told reporters in Tehran that “Close to 22 km of Line 6 of Tehran Metro will be launched early next year. Line 6 is the first subway line in Iran which is operated via an Automatic Train Operation (ATO) system,” ISNA reported.
The partial relaunch of Line 7 has been scheduled for early next fiscal year (begins March 21), he added. The line was initially inaugurated in 2017 but was shut down soon due to safety issues.
“In the initial phase, Line 7 will cover 13.5 km from Mahdiyeh station to Sanat Square” in the northern Shahrak Gharb neighborhood, Financial Tribune quoted the mayor as saying.
The premature opening of Line 7 by former mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf during the 2017 presidential campaign, was seen as PR exercise to attract voters in the capital. The unscrupulous publicity stunt backfired, drawing widespread criticism from the people, public transport experts and independent urban planners.
His successor Mohammad Ali Najafi ordered the unsafe line closed until further notice.
In addition to the subway lines under construction, Tehran Metro comprises five other lines (Lines 1, 2, 3, 4, and) with nearly 120 stations and 1,000 subway cars.
The mayor further said that 70 subway carriages have been imported and will soon join the network.
“Every day 2 million trips are made via Tehran Metro. Expansion of the subway is high on the municipality agenda. We intend to boost subway commute up to 7 million daily trips. To achieve this goal while reducing headway time at the stations, 2,000 new subway cars are needed.”
Bus, Taxi Fleets
According to the mayor, the municipality is moving ahead with a plan to purchase 1,050 new buses for the overcrowded capital that has expanded in all four directions.
New catalytic converters are to be installed on 700 public buses which will curb the amount of fume the vehicles spew into the air.
Tehran’s public transport fleet has 6,000 buses, half of which are dilapidated, unusable and long ready for the scrap yard. Some of the buses are over two decades old and have long outlived their usefulness.
Head of Tehran Bus Company Peiman Sanandaji earlier told reporters that 10,000 buses are needed to offer decent commuting to the people in Tehran Province that now is home to 15 million people.
Hanachi said in the long run, the municipality has plans to renovate 10,000 dilapidated taxis. There are 79,000 cabs in Tehran of which 11,000 are dilapidated.
Chronic Air Pollution
Hanachi pointed to the chronic air pollution in Tehran that is cutting short lives. He said, “70% of air pollution in Tehran is caused by old vehicles and carburetor-equipped motorbikes. Close to 18% of the suffocating smog is caused by motorbikes and private vehicles have a 40% share in the worsening air pollution.”
From 3.5 million motorbikes used in Tehran 2.5 million are carburetor-equipped. Since the latter are not equipped with catalyst converters and release toxic fumes directly into the environment, the amount of fumes each of the motorbikes spew into the air equals that of eight vehicles with Euro 3 emission standards. The added problem is that the two-wheelers are fuel-intensive.
As if this was not enough, the outdated motorbikes are the number one culprits in creating noise pollution.
The mayor pointed to the economic hardships the country is facing and the municipality’s empty coffers saying that the urban authority will try to do its best to move ahead with the development programs.