EghtesadOnline: Major Iranian metropolises are making efforts to boost public transport services by expanding bus and taxi fleets and investing in subway projects.
In Tehran, following Tehran Taxi Organization’s collaboration with Omid Entrepreneurship Fund and a major domestic automaker Iran Khodro (IKCO), taxi drivers can replace their old vehicles with new ones, ISNA reported.
The plan is to offer cheap loans worth 400 million rials ($3,478) to taxi drivers to help gradually phase out 10,000 dilapidated taxis currently plying the capital’s streets.
According to Alireza Qannadan, the head of TTO, the automaker company will deliver to applicants Peugeot 405 models at the manufacturer's suggested retail price of 640 million rials ($5,565), Financial Tribune reported.
"To go through the process, cabbies are required to make a down payment of 80 million rials [$695] to register for the new cars and later pay the remaining 160 million rials [$1,391]," he said, without specifying whether 160 million rials need to be paid in installments or upon the delivery of the car.
Details of the loan repayment were also not mentioned.
Tehran Municipality says the capital's taxi fleet has about 80,000 vehicles, 17,000 of which have already outlived their usefulness and contribute to the worsening air pollution in the expanding city.
Although small in scale, the scheme is expected to have a positive effect on the average age of the capital's taxi fleet and consequently boost public transportation and ease air pollution.
Subway in Eslamshahr
The construction of metro tunnels in Eslamshahr, a working district in southwest Tehran, will be completed in three years, which will help residents commute easily and reduce traffic congestion.
Amin Asadi, the head of Eslamshahr City Council, told Borna News that work has just begun on digging the tunnels and the basic infrastructures are expected to be ready in three years.
The subway in Eslamshahr will be an extension of Tehran Metro, which so far comprises seven lines (1 to 7) and stretches over 220 kilometers with nearly 120 stations. Lines 3, 6, and 7 are still under construction.
At present, the nearest subway station is 17 km from the central areas of Eslamshahr. This has made daily travel very difficult for those working or studying in other parts of the overcrowded province.
Based on the plans, Line 3 of Tehran subway is to be extended another 15 km from Azadegan Junction, passing Chahardangeh and ending at Eslamshahr.
“In the long run, such major projects will help Eslamshahr attract urban development investors,” Asadi said, noting that the nerve-racking traffic and the permanent smog in Eslamshahr have worsened knocking on the doors of the municipality to find solutions that can deliver.
Bus Fleet and Subway in Qom
The public transportation system, especially the bus fleet, in the holy city of Qom, located about 140 km from Tehran Province, is also growing rapidly.
During a ceremony on Tuesday, 110 new buses were added to Qom’s fleet, Tasnim News Agency reported.
Qom Mayor Seyyed Morteza Saqqaian-Nejad told reporters that as per the agreement with a local bus manufacturing company, 104 buses will be added to the fleet soon.
Noting that 1.2 million people live in Qom, Saqqaian-Nejad said, "Under normal conditions, one bus will suffice every 1,000 residents, so the city will need 1,200 buses to deliver decent transport services."
Currently, 300 buses are operating in the city's transport fleet, although 170 are dilapidated and spew a large volume of toxic emission into the air.
Qom Municipality has reported that since 2017, only 100 new buses have been added to the city’s transport fleet of the city.
“To alleviate the problem, upgrading the transport system is high on the municipality's agenda," he added.
Urban managers in the shrine city of Qom say that in the next Iranian year (starting March 2020), the holy city’s subway network will partially become operational.
In early September, Saqqaian-Nejad said work is on track to develop the city’s subway infrastructures to ease passenger transportation.
"Over 5 kilometers of the mapped subway network will be launched and people in the holy city will be able to commute through the subway—the zero-emission means of transportation," he said.
Provincial officials say accelerating the construction of subway is essential for the shrine city, as expanding urban development, aging public transportation fleet and substandard vehicles plying the streets are worsening the city’s air pollution.