EghtesadOnline: Tehran Municipality has announced that revenues earned from traffic and air pollution schemes underway in the capital city of Tehran are being spent on expanding the city's urban transportation system.
This came in response to criticism from media outlets and citizens censuring Tehran Municipality over the introduction of new charges that have made car ownership costlier.
TM's Transportation and Traffic Organization chief said cheap loans will be given to Tehran-based transport companies planning to buy new buses and minibuses, Mehr News Agency reported.
Mohsen Pourseyyed-Aqaei added that loans with an interest rate of 4% will be extended to transport companies to help them renovate their bus and minibus fleets, according to Financial Tribune.
The loans are to be financed by revenues generated from traffic schemes.
Pourseyyed-Aqaei noted that a similar measure was taken in June, when in collaboration with the Interior Ministry, 13 buses and 117 minibuses were added to the city's public transport fleet through cheap loans.
The TTO chief said detailed reports on TM’s revenues from traffic schemes currently implemented in Tehran and its expenditure will soon be posted on the municipality’s website.
Bus Fleet in Tehran
Pointing to the economic headwinds facing Iran, Pourseyyed-Aqaei said phasing out dilapidated buses and replacing them with new imported ones is a luxury the country can ill afford.
Therefore, Tehran Municipality has been taking alternative measures to restore the dilapidated buses, like repairing and upgrading or using locally-made vehicles.
Official data from Tehran Bus Company show that 6,000 buses are currently operating in Tehran, half of which has outlived usefulness and is fit for the scrap yard.
This is while the city needs at least 10,000 buses to deliver decent transportation services.
TBC's CEO Peiman Sanandaji said the company will induct 100 new buses within a month to renew the city’s aging public transportation fleet.
Furthermore, 500 new buses will join the transport fleet by the end of the current fiscal year (March 19, 2020), he added.
In addition to the low-interest loans, earlier in mid-July, Pourseyyed-Aqaei had announced that since the beginning of the current fiscal year (March 21), 185 billion rials ($1.59 million) from the revenues of traffic schemes have been allocated to the city's subway projects.
"TM is paying its share to boost subway construction in the metropolis and the new investments in these projects will lead to more sustainable development," he said at the time.
Tehran’s subway network stretches over 220 kilometers and comprises seven lines (1 to 7) with nearly 120 stations. Line 6 and 7 are still under construction.
Three new lines (8 to 10) are also being mapped for areas lacking access to subway lines.
Traffic Schemes in Tehran
Currently, three traffic schemes are underway in the capital, including Air Pollution Reduction, Air Pollution Control and the so-called Traffic Scheme. Each enforces different rules and restrictions on vehicles plying the capital’s streets to ease air pollution and traffic congestions, and fines drivers guilty of violating these rules.
TM launched the scheme called Air Pollution Reduction in the capital in November 2018.
APR bars dilapidated two- and four-wheelers from plying the city’s roads. All the vehicles in the metropolis are required to undergo automotive inspections and receive a technical certificate showing the vehicle meets automotive and emission standards. Those who are found in breach are fined.
Air Pollution Control is the other scheme running in the capital since the beginning of summer. As per APC, each vehicle can enter a "restricted zone" in central Tehran for free for a maximum of 20 days each season, or 80 days a year.
Spread over 88.5 square kilometers in central Tehran, the zone is bounded 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.
Vehicles are barred from entering the area between 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. on all days, except Fridays and national holidays. On Thursdays, the time limit is between 6:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
If motorists wish to enter the zone more than the number of times allowed in the plan, they need to pay a toll fee.
Another so-called “Traffic Scheme” in central Tehran was enforced 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 the area between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Entering the zone costs up to 414,000 rials ($3.5) for privately- owned vehicles.