Light Rail or Subway?

Light Rail or Subway?Light Rail or Subway?

The first phase of the LRT (light rail train) Project will be implemented in the capital in the near future, subject to its approval by the Tehran City Council (TCC), says Seyed Jafar Tashakkori Hashemi, traffic and transport deputy at the Tehran Municipality (TM).

However, the idea has not found much favor in the TCC going by the opinion of some councilors who say the metro expansion now underway should be completed before the LRT project commences.

“In the first phase, short sections of LRT tracks with a total length of 5 kilometers will be installed in different parts of the city,” Hashemi said quoted by Tabnak News Agency.

Only if approved and financed by the TCC, “we will be able to start the project from the next fiscal year (starts March 20),” he said.

Construction of each kilometer of LRT costs about $12 million (as against subway lines that cost one-fifth of the amount); therefore implementation of the first phase of the project of 5 km would require $60 million.

Recently, Abolfazl Qanaati, a member of the TCC said that due to the high costs of LRT construction and low capacity for passenger transportation, the project should be placed last on the public transport agenda. “The TM should place priority on completion of the Tehran subway expansion.”

In large and populated cities such as Tehran, which is home to nearly 12 million people, LRTs won’t be able to meet demand during peak hours. “Although, construction of LRT routes in some parts of the city will be beneficial in their own way, our priority is completion of the pending metro lines,” the councilor said.

Pointing to the delay in the metro expansion project, he said at the beginning of the current year a budget of $540 million had been allocated to the TM for the purpose.

 Unfinished Metro Lines

As per the second five-year program of the municipality (2013 to 2018), metro line 6 and 7 should be completed by the end of the current fiscal year (March 19), but this has not happened yet, Qanaati noted.

Completion of Tehran metro line 7 will help ease traffic congestion around Hemmat and Hakim highways.

The objective of metro line 7 is to connect the northwestern part of the capital to the southeastern part.  On completion, the line will have 25 stations.

In the upcoming fiscal year, the TCC has approved $567.5 million (21,000 billion rials) for metro expansion and maintenance. Although the TM recommended a 6.8% increase in the metro budget for its expansion in the next fiscal year (starts March 20), “we are planning to increase the budget by 8.3%.”

Tehran Metro is a rapid transit system serving the overcrowded metropolis that has been expanding at terrible speed. Four lines (lines 1, 2, 4 and 5) of the metro are operational while three others (lines 3, 6 and 7) are still under construction. The system is owned and operated by Tehran Urban and Suburban Railway affiliated to the TM.

The metro network is currently 168 km long. Upon completion of all the lines, it will reach a length of 430 km.

On all days of the week, the metro service runs from 5:30 am to 11pm. Tehran Metro carries more than 3 million passengers a day.