TCC Censures Small Budget for Tehran Public Transportation

Tehran City Council has censured the government for overlooking the vital role of public transportation in setting the inadequate budget

In the next fiscal year (starting March 2021), Tehran Municipality will receive 17.5 trillion rials ($67.3 million) for streamlining the metropolis’s public transportation, almost half the amount allocated to the sector in the current year.
Speaking to reporters, Mohsen Hashemi, the head of Tehran City Council, said only 600 billion rials ($2.3 million) have been earmarked for new subway wagons, Borna reported.
The share of public transportation in the current year’s budget was 34 trillion rials ($130.76).
Censuring the government for overlooking the vital role of public transportation in setting the budget bill, Hashemi said, “The council had repeatedly reminded the government that the ailing public transport in Tehran requires at least 20 trillion rials [$769.2 million] to improve services.”
He added that the allocated amount is disappointing and woefully inadequate for the worrying state of transport system.
Tehran owns a 250-km subway line, 120 stations and 216 trains, close to a third of which requires repairs, plus around 6,000 buses, a large share of which are over 12 years old.
“Infrastructural development siphons over 75% of monetary resources and practically nothing will be left for overhauling or adding to the operating vehicles,” he said.
Hashemi stressed that the capital’s subway and bus fleet conditions will become critical in the next year since “with insufficient resources, the municipality will not be able to even undertake repairs and maintenance. Therefore, the currently operating vehicles will turn into a wreck and stop working after a short while.”
He noted that supporting the public transportation system affects the living conditions of citizens, a large segment of which are grappling with financial problems.
Also, during an earlier meeting of TCC members, Hashemi said Tehran’s public transport is on the verge of collapse.
“The government owes municipality over 700 trillion rials [$2.69 billion] for different urban development projects, including the subsidy on metro tickets, subway development plans, renovation of wagons and addition of new wagons to the metro system,” he said. 



Zero Renewal

Manaf Hashemi, TM’s deputy for transportation, had earlier underlined the necessity of overhauling Tehran subway trains and said over a third of wagons in metro requires restoration and repair, otherwise their technical faults might disrupt operations sooner or later.
He said that around 400 out of 1,500 operating subway wagons should be repaired as soon as possible.
Hashemi stressed that repairs require sufficient funds, spare parts, a large team of technicians and a wagon body production unit.
“Tehran Metro spans across 250 kilometers around the metropolis which, according to project estimations, should have been expanded to 500 kilometers,” he said.
“The subway network does not have enough wagons for offering decent services. As Tehran Municipality is facing a cash crunch, there is a lack of funds for repairs and expansion projects.”
To curb pressure on the subway network, the TCC chief said, “Efforts are being made to streamline Tehran Metro by overhauling the dilapidated wagons using the limited resources. However, this is more of a sedative for the ailing network. We need workable solutions.”
Due to the government’s mounting debts to the municipality over the past several years and TM’s lack of sustainable sources of income, the public transportation system in the metropolis has seen almost zero renewal.
According to Tehran Metro Company, the system lacks 2,000 train cars, which could boost urban transportation capacity by 6 million people.
Normally, Tehran Metro handles over 5 million travels a day and the number of commuters is expected to surge by 25% after the unfinished subway lines are up and running. 
But this is definitely not sufficient for Tehran where, according to statistics, over 10 million people commute daily, many from the surrounding cities and towns.



Killing Plans 

According to Ali Emam, Tehran Metro Company’s CEO, 12 stations were planned to become operational by the end of the current fiscal year (March 2021), but lack of financial resources has impeded the plans.
He announced that 10 trillion rials ($38.46 million) worth of participatory bonds issued by the government for subway expansion were expected to be encashed and delivered to the company by a local agent bank. 
“Unfortunately, the bonds are nearing expiry and so far, the bank has refused to encash them,” he said.
According to the latest updates, the bank has promised to encash 2 trillion rials ($7.7 million) of the amount soon.
Emam said 7 kilometers of Line 6 along its northwestern flank, covering seven stations, and one station of Line 3 are ready for launch. 
In Line 7, he added, four new stations are ready to start operations. 
The capital's subway stretches over 220 kilometers and comprises seven lines (1 to 7) with nearly 120 stations. Lines 3, 6 and 7 are yet to become fully operational.
Tehran Metro Company’s plans also envisage equipping the operating as well as new stations with elevators, escalators, signage, ventilation system and lighting. 
The head of Tehran’s subway said the completion of two transportation terminals at Shahrak-e Ekbatan and Kolahdouz stations in the western and eastern flanks of Line 4 respectively tops the current year’s agenda.

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