EghtesadOnline: Tehran Municipality is to roll out a new traffic scheme dubbed Air Pollution Control (APC) in two months.
The plan will replace the odd-even rule which was introduced in 2005 and has seemingly lost its usefulness. APC will come into effect on June 22, IRNA reported.
As per the odd-even rule, cars now enter a designated ‘restricted zone’ on alternate days depending on the odd and even number of the license plate.
This zone is an 88.5 square kilometer area in central Tehran limited by Imam Ali Expressway in the east, Navvab Expressway and Chamran Highway to the west, Besat Expressway in the south and Hemmat Expressway in the north. Saturday is earmarked for cars with the last even digit and Friday, being the weekend, is free for all cars, Financial Tribune reported.
As per the APC, the geographical boundary of the area will remain unchanged. But, each vehicle can enter the restricted zone for free for a maximum of 20 days every season.
If motorists want to enter the zone more than the number of times outlined in the new plan, they should pay. The amount is not yet known.
Cars arriving in Tehran from the provinces and not registered in the capital will be permitted to enter the zone for free on 15 days every season. Large numbers living in Alborz Province, 20km west of Tehran, travel to the overcrowded capital every day for work and education.
In addition to the odd-even rule, two other schemes have been implemented in the capital to help curb the smog and near permanent traffic congestions.
The TM launched the Air Pollution Reduction (APR) scheme last November to help improve air quality. As per the plan, old and dilapidated vehicles are banned in the city and violators are fined.
The APR compelled many car owners to have their vehicles checked or face consequences. All four and two-wheelers are required to go through mandatory inspections and receive technical papers that confirm the vehicles are roadworthy.
There is also the so-called “Traffic Scheme” in central Tehran in an area limited by Motahari Street in the north, Shariati Street in east, Kargar (west), and Shoosh (south), where cars except public transportation vehicles are barred from entering between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Entering the zone costs up to 414,000 rials ($3) for privately- owned vehicles.
Following the implementation of the APC, both APR and the Traffic Scheme will be unaffected.
In addition to implementing new traffic schemes, Tehran Mayor Pirouz Hanachi has emphasized the need to expand public transportation as a key to curb air pollution and traffic congestion that are a nuisance and agonizing for the residents, particularly during rush hours.
"Improving the subway, taxi and bus network along with bicycle docking stations is on the municipality agenda," he says.
Tehran’s subway comprises seven lines (line 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7) with nearly 100 stations. Line 6 and 7 are still under construction.
Since Hanachi took office last December, Lines 6 and 7 have been partially launched.
All said, what is available in terms of decent public transport is obviously not enough for Tehran where millions commute every day including large numbers from the surrounding cities and towns.