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EghtesadOnline: Providing decent public transportation services to Tehran’s satellite cities has long been a concern of urban managers, as the population in these cities is growing steadily.

Urban officials have started preparing the ground for extending the capital city’s subway lines to Parand and Pardis satellite cities in southwest and east Tehran.

During a recent visit to the construction site in the southwestern city, Tehran Metro Company CEO Ali Emam said the construction of stations and railroads linking the satellite cities will kick off by the current yearend (March 2022), provided that 7.5 trillion rials ($25.4 million) are injected into the project, IRNA reported. 

The project on linking the southern end of Tehran subway’s Line 1 to Parand was planned in 2012.

“The extension was supposed to become operational in 14 months at most, at an estimated cost of 4 trillion rials [$13.55 million]. Unfortunately, due to the lack of budget allocation, the implementation of the project has progressed at a snail’s pace,” Emam said.

According to the Tehran Metro chief, the line reached Imam Khomeini International Airport in southern Tehran by 2017 and another 19 km of construction are required for it to reach Parand.

Stressing that the extended part requires upgrades for offering acceptable services, Emam said, “Currently, the extension to IKIA is inefficient, because the headway of trains starting from Shahed to the airport station reaches 120 minutes, which is so long that people prefer to take a taxi or use private vehicles not to miss their flights.”

The Parand Metro project is to be jointly conducted by TM and Parand New Town Development Organization, the officials of which believe that the state coffers will not be sufficient for the expansion of subway lines, hence private investments are needed.



Subway to Pardis

Speaking to reporters, Emam said the extension of Tehran subway to the eastern satellite city of Pardis is still awaiting a clear roadmap.

He said a working group is tasked with making final arrangements with Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Headquarters for the adjustment of Line 2 at Farhangsara Station and its 24.7-km extension to the east.

Khatam is an Iranian engineering arm of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps that signed an agreement worth 40 trillion rials ($135.5 million) with New Towns Development Company for the project in March 2020.

Mohammad Reza Tavakkoli, an official with NTDC, said, “The project is a major one, as a large part of the railroad passes through a tunnel. The railroad connection will significantly reduce the time and cost of commuting for the residents of Pardis, in addition to curbing traffic congestion and air pollution in the capital.”

Studies for the Tehran-Pardis metro construction started in July 2019 and officials say the project will take five years to become operational.

“The line will have three stations, namely Tehran East Terminal, Tehran-Pardis road toll and Pardis Technology Park in the far east of the capital,” Tavakkoli added.

Pardis is witnessing rapid residential construction and a considerable number of people are expected to converge on Pardis, which calls for expanding urban facilities, such as public transportation services.



Budget Deficit

Despite talks of subway expansion to satellite cities, Tehran Metro Company is in the red owing the local banking system 370 trillion rials ($1.25 billion), while still needing funds to overhaul wagons and complete unfinished lines.

According to Mojtaba Shafiei, the deputy head of Transportation and Traffic Department at Tehran Municipality, Tehran Metro’s bad debts, which have built up from years of financial crisis, make it difficult for receiving more loans.

“The company’s debt accumulation to the banks can seriously disrupt its operations,” he added.

The official elaborated on fiscal deficiencies in the way of subway development and said the completion of under-construction subway lines requires an estimated 350 trillion rials ($1.18 billion).

Stretching over 253 kilometers across the capital, Tehran Metro constitutes seven lines, with lines 6 and 7 still under construction.

Line 6 will be the longest route in the subway network, stretching over 38 km with 27 stations upon completion. It connects Shahr-e Rey in southeast Tehran to the Sulaqan rural district in the northwest.

The 27-km-long Line 7, which connects the northwest to southeastern parts of Tehran, will have 25 stations after completion. 

The official said the newly-designed lines 8-11 would require 2.01 quadrillion rials ($6.8 billion) for completion.

The new lines have been designed to encompass areas not covered by the metro network so far.

Line 8 will stretch over 37 km starting from the southeast, going around the city center in a curve and turning back to the northeast with a total of 35 stations.

When complete, Line 9 will be 46 km long with 39 stations, covering a larger area starting from the west at Chitgar Station on Line 5. It then travels up north and goes toward the east, continues southward and ends at Dolatabad Station on Line 6.

Line 10 is the uppermost path, starting from Vardavard Station on Line 5. It travels 41 kilometers across the northern part of the city with 34 stations, reaching northeast to Qanat-e Kosar.

Line 11 will stretch over 26 kilometers, starting from Chitgar Station on Line 5, linking the west to the southeastern flank of Tehran with 17 stations.

In addition, two express lines have also been proposed as a peripheral transport facility. One of the lines will connect Sadeqiyeh Station on Line 5 to the capital's southern neighborhood Varamin. The other express line is set to link Pardis in the northeast to Parand in southwest Tehran.

The construction of two express lines, according to Shafiei, requires 700 trillion rials ($2.37 billion).


Tehran urban managers