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One of Tehran’s clogged streets. Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani (inset).
One of Tehran’s clogged streets. Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani (inset).

New Management at Tehran City Council: A Better Way of Getting Things Done

Torturous traffic in the capital 24/7 is seen as the biggest problem in the capital that has expanded in all four directions thanks to the generosity of the outgoing mayor!
Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani says Tehran needs 12 subway lines running at full capacity and able to carry 10 million people a day

New Management at Tehran City Council: A Better Way of Getting Things Done

The new Tehran City Council will focus on rule of law, transparency and improving urban services in both the upscale and low-income districts, according to the chairman of the incoming council.
Urban services are public facilities that include efficient water networks, street cleaning, fire and police protection, public transport, functioning sewer systems and storm drainage systems, among others.  
In a late night interview on the state TV on Monday, Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani castigated mayors of the capital accusing them of using their high office for political gain and disregarding openness, transparency and responsibility in running the local government.
“In the past, people regarded street sweepers as a symbol of the municipality. Some mayors put on the uniform of the cleaners to strike a chord with the masses,” Hashemi said, referring to former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who took office in 2005 after serving as Tehran mayor for two years.
Former mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf tried to emulate Ahmadinejad but failed.
Torturous traffic in the capital 24/7 is seen as the biggest problem in the capital that has expanded in all four directions thanks to the generosity of the outgoing mayor and his minions. The only way to reduce the traffic and the associated costs and nuisance, according to Hashemi, is to develop the subway system.
“Tehran needs 12 subway lines running at full capacity and able to carry 10 million people a day,” he said, adding that the city suffers from a shocking lack of trains.
Currently, there are eight subway lines in the city. Line 6, which runs northwest to southeast has not yet become operational and lines 3, 7 and 8 are not operating at full capacity. Lines 2, 3 and 4 fork at one end and line seven forks at both sides.
“Ideally, interval times between trains must be reduced to 3 minutes,” Rafsanjani added.
According to Maziyar Hosseini, deputy for traffic and transport affairs at Tehran Municipality, the existing operative lines carry nearly three million passengers a day and are expected to reach 3.6 million passengers after lines 6, 7 and 8 are completed.
Hashemi, the son of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, added that the bus fleet must also be developed and connected to the subway stations.
“If and when the bus network carries five million passengers a day, 15 million people will travel by public transport that will reduce the snarling traffic to a considerable degree,” he said. Tehran is home to 13 million people.
To do that, between 7,000 and 9,000 buses as well as 3,000 train cars are required, he added.
Hashemi noted that under his watch the new council will focus on developing an efficient public transport system across the sprawling capital.
During the TV interview he pointed to people’s complaints to the Tehran Municipality. According to his information, 400,000 complaints were sent to the TM via its 137 hotline last year.
“The largest number of complaints was about noise pollution followed by disorganized street vendors and illegal constructions,” he said.
Many had also complained about corruption in and among municipal staff, a problem that mayor-elect Mohammad Ali Najafi is expected to address, having run on a platform of responsibility and transparency.
“The fifth council must raise the bar and keep the municipality under stricter supervision” Hashemi said during the live show , a dig at the previous council led by the staunch Qalibaf supporter Mehdi Chamran, who was also present  in the TV interview.
Another major issue that the new council will seek to address is clarifying municipality’s regulations to prevent multiple interpretations of laws.
“The vagueness of the laws must be resolved to make them as transparent as possible,” Hashemi told the state-owned TV. 

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