New Subway Project to Tackle Tehran’s Transportation Needs
EghtesadOnline: The development of public transportation has been high on Tehran urban managers’ agenda, for which the capital launched the construction of the subway’s Line 10 last week.
According to Tehran Metro's CEO Ali Emam, the line is the largest urban development project in the past several years, ISNA reported.
Line 10 will be 43 kilometers long and link up with lines 4, 3, 1, 7, 6, 9 and 5 from east to west of the city. Line 9 is in the design phase and the partly operational lines 6 and 7 are still under construction.
Line 10 is designed to cross Tehran’s districts one to five and 22 that are located in the northernmost part of the city.
With 35 stations, the line is to start from Qanat Kosar in the east and link to Vardavard Station on Line 5 that connects Sadeqiyeh in western to Karaj, the provincial center of Alborz.
Emam said the line is designed to cover areas with poor transportation systems like Tehran’s District 22.
The district spans over 5,500 hectares in the western part of the capital and includes vast residential, recreational and tourism facilities.
As urban development is growing in the area, traffic congestion will definitely grow.
Officials believe that in addition to developing the urban transport fleet, the establishment of the new subway line will ease road traffic and air pollution.
Tehran Metro's CEO also said that an estimated 33% of subway passengers are daily commuters from the neighboring Alborz Province, major destinations of whom are located in districts 2, 5 and 22.
“The completion of the line is expected to lighten passenger traffic in the already operating subway lines,” he added.
Pointing to the fact that the project has been split into several phases, Emam said the first phase covers 12 kilometers in the northwestern part of the city, linking Tehran’s International Exhibition Center to Shahran Neighborhood.
The official believes that the phase 1 construction will be completed in four years.
Work on other phases of Line 10 will depend on financial resources, the already operating transportation fleet in the areas, environmental issues and population, Emam added.
In early August, Manaf Hashemi, Tehran Municipality’s deputy for traffic and transportation affairs, met officials from Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Headquarters to discuss the funding and construction of Line 10.
Khatam-al Anbiya is an Iranian engineering arm of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.
According to Hashemi, details of Line 10 construction project were reviewed during the meeting.
Line 7 Plans
To speed up the development of traffic-free, green means of transportation, urban managers have also put the completion of Line 7 high on the agenda.
The 27-km-long line, which connects the northwest to southeastern parts of Tehran, will have 25 stations after completion. Currently, 11 stations are operational along the line.
According to Emam, the construction of 5 kilometers of the northwestern flank of Line 7, covering three stations: Ashrafi Isfahani, the Islamic Azad University Science and Research Branch and North Jannatabad, and a subway terminal in the far north will start soon.
The would-be subway terminal will help reduce the headway, ease parking problems and help renovate the wagons.
Line 7 was partially opened in June 2017 by Tehran's former mayor, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, during his 2017 presidential election campaign. The line’s premature launch was strongly criticized by public transport experts and urban planners, because it disregarded safety rules and protocols.
Tehran Mayor Pirouz Hanachi now says all safety standards have been observed.
Officials are planning new subway lines, according to the head of Tehran City Council’s Transportation Commission, but the subway network of Tehran needs 2 quadrillion rials ($7.4 billion) for the construction of incomplete lines, purchase of train cars and standardization of equipment.
Mohammad Alikhani added that due to the negative effects of US sanctions since the summer of 2018, Iran’s rial is losing value against hard currencies, making it a tough task to expand and renew the ailing public transportation in Tehran.
Since the US reimposed sanctions against Iran in 2018, the rial has lost 70% of its value against the greenback over the past year. On Monday, the US dollar was traded at 270,000 rials in Tehran while it hardly fetched 42,000 rials in March 2018.
“A train wagon cost 50 billion rials a couple of years ago, but now the price reaches 200 billion rials, which Tehran Municipality cannot presently afford,” he added.
The TCC official suggested Transit-Oriented Development could be the only way to alleviate current problems related to urban transportation.
TOD is a development model that maximizes the amount of residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of public transport. It promotes a symbiotic relationship between urban density and public transport use.
Speaking to reporters, Mohsen Hashemi, the head of TCC, expressed disquiet over Tehran Subway’s shortfalls and said, “While the subway lines have been extended around the city by 80 kilometers in the past several years, not enough trains have been added to the metro network.”
Hashemi noted that for each kilometer of the subway, there was 1.1 train wagons.
“Today, the figure has fallen by 30%, which means that for each kilometer of operating subway line, there is 0.8 train cars,” he said.
Tehran’s subway network stretches over 220 kilometers and comprises seven lines (1 to 7) with nearly 120 stations.
How Tehran Metro’s managers will address the shortfalls under the current economic constraints remains to be seen.