Saturday, 6 March 2010

New metros, new gridlock

Moscow's metro will mark its 75th anniversary by opening two new stations - but the network is still 110 km too short to serve the whole city.

However, that shortfall is nothing compared with the average 980 km of traffic jams choking Moscow's streets every morning.

Deputy Mayor Pyotr Biryukov said that more than a quarter of Muscovites were not properly connected to the metro network, though he pledged to reduce that number to 17 per cent in the coming years.

The first step towards that will be the opening of two stations at the northern end of the light green line - Dostoyevskaya and Marina Roshcha - providing a convenient link to the Garazh Centre for Contemporary Arts, among other destinations.

They will welcome their first passengers on May 15, the 75th anniversary of the opening of the network in 1935.

Biryukov added that work was continuing at Kosino and Orekhovo-Borisovo stations, extending the yellow line further east and beginning to complete the loop which will join the light and dark green lines at Krasnogvardeiskaya.

Meanwhile the need to further extend public transport in Moscow was graphically illustrated in December when snowfalls paralysed the city's roads.

Figures compiled by website Yandex.Probki estimated that the total length of traffic jams on an average working morning in December was 980 km - matching the distance from Moscow to Kiev.

And the New Year brought little relief for frustrated motorists, with researchers saying that traffic flows on Moscow's ring roads were "constantly growing", reported.

Queues will hopefully become shorter at five metro stations where passengers will soon be able to buy tickets from automatic machines.

Following operational tests, the machines will start work in mid-March at VDNKh, Timiryazevskaya, Savyolovskaya, Ulitsa 1905 Goda and Paveletskaya (green line) and will accept coins and notes.

Travellers can use them to replenish transportation cards, the Metro's official website reported.

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