Since its launch on 10 September, the Moscow Central Ring (MCR) has carried over 3.5 million passengers, Deputy Mayor and Head of the Department of Transport Maxim Liksutov reported. He admitted that the city had not expected the new ring to be so instantly popular. “The number of passengers who used the MCR during the first few days of service – as many as 200,000 people on weekdays – was a surprise for us. We had hoped to reach that level after three or four months,” he told the International Expert Council for Transport Issues, adding that the new ring has helped to ease the passenger traffic load on certain metro stations. Plans for the short term are to cut train intervals to four minutes during peak hours. “Currently, the peak hour interval is six minutes, but Russian Railways and the city are discussing how to transition to four minutes,” he said.
According to Mr Liksutov, most people use public transit during peak hours: “The city’s transit system carries about 70 percent of peak hour commuters. I mean the metro, surface transit and now the MCR.”
He briefed the Expert Council on transit system development in Moscow. For example, almost 3,000 new buses hit the streets earlier this year. “We’ve replaced chaotically moving and older minibuses with standard size and new minibuses, thus adding 30 percent more seats. Last year, in a reform programme the fleet received 2,700 new buses. I think Moscow leads the world in fleet renewal statistics,” he said.
Since 2010, 86 percent of the rolling stock, including some metro trains, has been replaced with 5,700 brand new units.
Currently, half of the buses offer Wi-Fi and we plan to extend it to the entire system before the end of the year.
Approximately 240 kilometres of new rail track will be laid between Moscow and the Moscow Region before 2020 to promote suburban transit. “The Russian Government and Russian Railways have adopted a joint programme to add additional mainline tracks to increase traffic capacity between Moscow and the Moscow Region. Already, 76 kilometres of new track has been laid as part of this 240 kilometre target that we will achieve by 2020,” he said.
In addition, almost 300 rail stations have been refurbished, with Park and Ride lots for 1,600 cars created nearby.