EghtesadOnline: Tehran City Council has ratified the issuance of participatory bonds worth 300 trillion rials ($2.4 billion) by the municipality to finance the expansion of the capital’s subway network.
After the latest meeting of Tehran City Council on Sunday, Tehran Mayor Pirouz Hanachi announced that the municipality has been allowed to issue 300 trillion rials ($2.4 billion) worth of participatory bonds, ISNA reported.
“The money will be used for overhauling Tehran’s public transportation network, especially its subway and public bus fleet,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
"Two-thirds of the money raised by offering participatory bonds will be spent on the construction of unfinished subway lines in the capital and the remaining will be injected into streamlining the city's bus transportation fleet."
Hanachi noted that considering the financial hardships facing Tehran Municipality, the new decision will help promote Tehran’s public transportation system.
So far, the project had been financed by the government, private investors and revenues from traffic regulation schemes underway in the capital.
Plans in Detail
Hanachi elaborated on the subway development plans and said by February 2020, Aqdasieh Station on the subway’s Line 3 will be launched and the electrical substation of Nobonyad Station on the same line will also become operational.
Tehran’s subway network stretches over 220 kilometers and comprises seven lines (1 to 7) with nearly 120 stations. Line 3, 6 and 7 are still under construction.
Three new lines (8 to 10) are also being mapped for areas lacking access to the subway network.
Explaining the plans in detail, Hanachi said that in May 2020, Sohrevardi and Azadegan stations on Line 3, which are now partly operational, will be completed.
Line 3 of Tehran’s subway stretches 38 kilometers from northeast to southwest of the city. Seven kilometers of the line became operational in December 2012. Currently, 24 of the 26 stations planned for the line are operational.
“By next June, six more stations on the unfinished Line 6 will also offer services. The line’s completion will require a budget of 25 trillion rials [$202 million]," Hanachi said.
When fully constructed, Line 6 will stretch over 38 km and have 27 stations. It will be the longest line in the subway network and connect Shahr-e Rey in southeast Tehran to the famed Sulqan rural district in the northwest.
In early April, 9 kilometers of Line 6 with 3 stations, namely Dolatabad, Besat and Shohada, were inaugurated.
By the end of the next Iranian year (March 2021), Hanachi said three more stations of Line 7 will become operational.
The budget needed for the planned construction is 18.5 trillion rials ($152 million).
The 27-km-long Line 7, which connects the northwest to southeastern parts of Tehran, will have 25 stations.
The first three stations of the line were launched in March. With a15-minute headway between trains, commuters can now take the subway from Helal Ahmar Station in downtown Tehran to Tarbiat Modarres Station near Chamran and Jalal Al-e-Ahmad expressway junction, to Sanat Square in northwest Tehran.
Line 7 was partially opened in June 2017 by Tehran's former mayor, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, during his 2017 presidential election campaign. The hasty measure was strongly criticized by public transport experts and urban planners because it disregarded safety rules and protocols.
Hanachi now says all safety standards have been taken into consideration.
Shifting focus from subway to bus fleet, Hanachi told reporters that along with the extensive efforts being made to restore the aging bus fleet in the city, 100 trillion rials ($826 million) of the participatory bonds will be spent to expedite the repairs underway and even add new buses to the network.
He noted that 6,000 buses are currently active in Tehran's bus fleet, over half of which has outlived their usefulness and are more than ready to go to the scrap yard.
This is while, according to Tehran Bus Company, the city needs at least 10,000 efficient buses to deliver decent transportation services to the capital’s residents.
Biking Gains Momentum
Besides motorized means of transportation, TM has also promoted human-powered modes of transport, especially since Hanachi took office in November 2018.
Considering the recent developments in public culture and urban facilities pertaining to bicycle riding in the city, urban officials have suggested that amendments are required to be made to the biking rules.
Yaqoub Azadehdel, the head of TM's Office for Clean Transportation, told the media that physical and legal infrastructures for biking should be developed simultaneously.
"Rules and regulations related to biking have never been fundamentally modified since they were included in the constitution long ago. Rules should be regularly updated and conform to the latest real-life developments," he said.
The official added that with the increasing public interest in cleaner modes of commutation, the modification of rules can benefit both the Traffic Police and bikers themselves.
The general move to promote biking in Iran’s major cities was first launched two years ago. To promote bicycles as a mode of transportation in Tehran, Mashhad and Yazd, a project was launched to set up bike lending centers and provide bicycles in educational centers and travel zones.
In Tehran, 50 terminals were set up across the city, mostly in crowded downtown areas and near subway stations and tourist sites, to offer a total of 7,000 gearless bicycles. The terminals are still situated at several main city squares, including Tohid, Enqelab and Azadi.
In addition, TM launched four bike lanes in the capital's districts 6 and 7, along Taleqani, Karimkhan, Iranshahr and Mofatteh streets in the center of the city.