Metro Line 7 Safety Review Continues

Tehran City Council has been reviewing the safety of Metro Line 7 for a month but municipality officials have denied assertions that the route’s opening was premature
Metro Line 7 connects the capital’s northwestern flank to the southeastern parts.Metro Line 7 connects the capital’s northwestern flank to the southeastern parts.
Now only two trains run for a few hours on the line whereas at least 10 are needed

Tehran City Council was scheduled to continue reviewing the safety of the latest addition to Tehran's sprawling subway system on Tuesday, as the saga surrounding the opening of Metro Line 7 continues.

The municipality is accused of rushing to open the line with little regard for safety protocols. The city council has been reviewing the case since the line partially opened on June 10.

Rahmatollah Hafezi, chairman of the city council's Environment and Health Commission, is a vocal critic. In a press conference earlier this week, he said relevant commissions studied a comprehensive report on Line 7, "the very same one seen by senior officials at Tehran Municipality", and many issues were found.

"The average distance between two stations is 7 kilometers, so in case of an accident passengers are forced to walk long distances in poorly ventilated tunnels," he said, ILNA reported.

"Most of the stations also lack emergency stairs," the councilor added.

Hafezi is not the only critic in the city council. Mohsen Sarkhou, who chairs the Urban Traffic and Transport Committee, criticized metro officials saying that train services on the 22-kilometer line are running far below capacity.

“Official inauguration and opening of a metro line to the public should happen only after a project is complete or at least 80-90% ready.”

Now only two trains run for a few hours on the line whereas at least 10 are needed, he said.

Municipality officials have not stayed silent, accusing Hafezi and other critics of jumping to conclusions because they haven't seen the new route yet.

"Other council members have already seen it and reported back to us," Hafezi responded.

The councilor has been highly critical of Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, prompting the mayor's supporters to claim that his criticisms are politically motivated.

"I don't have a problem with anyone but as a representative of the people of Tehran I have the right to ask questions," he said. "If the mayor is willing to guarantee people's safety, I won't say another word."

Currently, there are seven stations on the new route. Once completed by the end of this year in March 2018, the line will cover 31 kilometers with the capacity to transport one million passengers every day.

Five stations between the first (San’at Square) and last (Basij) stations are ready, but the route is almost empty due to lack of trains, which is why critics say the opening of Line 7 was premature.

As per Tehran Municipality’s five-year plan (2013-18), Metro Line 7, which connects the capital’s northwestern flank to the southeastern parts, was scheduled for completion by 2015, but after nearly two years only seven stations have been opened.

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