Accessibility, speed, comfort: Moscow is developing the transport of the future

Accessibility, speed, comfort: Moscow is developing the transport of the future
Photo: Press Service of Moscow Mayor and the Moscow Government. Maxim Mishin
Moscow has opened new surface metro routes, updated the bus fleet and launched electric buses. Read this article on how one of the most advanced transport systems in the world was established over the course of just 10 years.

The Day of Moscow Transport is marked in the capital on the second Saturday of July. It is true that the transport sector has a lot to be proud of. Over the past 10 years, over 170 km of track and 56 metro stations have been built, and large projects like the Moscow Central Circle (MCC) and Moscow Central Diameters (MCD) have been completed. The bus fleet was completely updated, and 60 percent of the metro’s rolling stock replaced.

The metro now reaches Moscow’s most remote areas; it has new trains with free Wi-Fi, multimedia screens and USB ports. Surface transport has also became comfortable and eco-friendly: more electric buses and a new-generation of trams run the city streets. All of this is united into a single elaborated network with convenient transport hubs.

Just 10 years ago it was difficult to imagine that Moscow would create the largest, most advanced and comfortable transit system in the world in such a short time. will talk about the key projects implemented during this time.

Moscow surface metro: The MCC and Moscow Central Diameters 

In September 2016, people living in Moscow received the best gift for City Day: the Moscow Central Circle. In fact, it became a surface metro circle line that connected suburban city districts.

The MCC passes through 26 Moscow districts with a population of almost 2 million. It serves as a metro line for over 500,000 people living in the districts of Metrogorodok, Koptevo, Khoroshyovo-Mnevniki, Kotlovka, Beskudnikovsky and Nizhegorodsky.

The circle has 31 stations with interchanges to 26 metro stations and nine radial railway lines as well as to public surface transit. Last year MCC trains started to run every four minutes during rush hours and every eight minutes the rest of the time. The number of trains reached 242 pairs per day, which added over 580,000 new passenger seats.

The MCC was fully integrated with radial railway lines in 2017-2020. It offers changes to Andronovka (Kazanskoye line), Novokhokhlovskaya (Kurskoye line), Okruzhnaya (Savyolovskoye line), Streshnevo (Rizhskoye line), Verkhniye Kotly (Paveletskoye line), Nizhegorodskaya (Gorkovskoye line), Rostokino (Yaroslavskoye line) and Likhobory (Leningradskoye line on the Oktyabrskaya Railway).

Integration between the MCC and the railway system makes interchanges as passenger friendly as possible. These projects are mostly completed now, so it is possible to quickly change from one means of transport to another and save a lot of time on the way.

The new Moscow Central Diameters are another integrated railway transit alternative. Now passengers have another surface metro line.

In order to launch the MCD, existing railway infrastructure was upgraded, convenient interchanges with other transit modes were created and a unified ticket system, services and signage that everyone who uses the metro and the MCC was already used to were introduced. Covered platforms at MCD stations and other shelters and weather modules were installed for passengers to keep out of the rain and snow.

New service on the first two diameter lines, MCD-1 Belorussko-Savyolovsky (Odintsovo-Lobnya) and MCD-2 Kursko-Rizhsky (Nakhabino-Podolsk) was opened on 21 November 2019. Thanks to the Moscow Central Diameters and the new ticket system, commuters who switch to the new trains, can save up to 44 minutes per day as well as up to 75 percent of travel expenses on certain routes.

The diameters are helping people in Moscow and the Moscow Region change their commute habits: they can choose new comfortable and logical routes that will save time as well as money. Many no longer need to travel to the first interchange with the metro but can change from an MCD station to the metro for free and use the unified transport card to pay for travel around Moscow and the region.

MCD lines have connected cities in the Moscow Region and the centre of Moscow and given these people several new routes that are faster, cheaper and more comfortable. The diameter trains, with their short service intervals, lack of daytime maintenance intervals, updated rolling stock, favourable fares and unified payment system via the Troika card have become a popular means of urban transport.

Over eight months of operation, the MCD lines have carried 74 million passengers which is considered low due to coronavirus restrictions.

The advanced Ivolga trains run on the central diameters. They were fully designed and assembled in Russia. Ivolga trains are similar to their foreign counterparts and even surpasses them in some ways. The trains are almost noiseless and run very smoothly. They have more heated handrails. There are no vestibules in in each carriage, and doors open only when the button is pressed. The trains have been adapted for disabled passengers.

New metro stations 

Today the Moscow Metro is the most actively developing metro system in the world. It is in the top ten metro systems with the highest passenger traffic numbers and longest routes. The Moscow Metro leads all systems in train service intervals, compliance with schedules and ticket alternatives. Since 2011, almost 300 km of lines and over 145 metro, MCC and MCD stations have been opened in Moscow.

New line sections, stations and other facilities:

Line 10 (Lyublinsko-Dmitrovskaya):

- section between Maryino and Zyablikovo stations (three stations)

- section between Maryina Roshcha and Seligerskaya stations (six stations)

- a second entrance hall, Maryina Roshcha station

- a second entrance hall, Petrovsko-Razumovskaya station

Line 8 (Kalininsko-Solntsevskaya) :

- section between Novogireyevo and Novokosino stations (one station)

- section between Delovoi Tsentr and Ramenki stations (five stations)

- section between Ramenki and Rasskazovka stations (seven stations)

Line2 (Zamosskvoretskaya):

- section between Krasnogvardeyskaya and Alma-Atinskaya stations (one station)

- Tekhnopark station

- section between Rechnoi Vokzal and Khovrino station (two stations)

Line 3 (Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya):

- section between Mitino and Pyatnitskoye Shosse stations (one station)

Line 7 (Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya):

- section between Vykhino and Kotelniki stations (three stations)

- Spartak station

Line 12 (Butovskaya):

- section between Ulitsa Starokachalovskaya and Bitsevsky Park (two stations)

Line 1 (Sokolnycheskaya):

- section between Yugo-Zapadnaya and Salaryevo stations (three stations)

- section between Salaryevo and Kommunarka stations (four stations)

Line 15 (Nekrasovskaya):

- section between Kosino to Nekrasovka stations (four stations)

- section between Aviamotornaya and Kosino stations (five stations)

Big Circle Line:

- section between Delovoi Tsentr and Savyolovskaya stations (six stations)

- section between Aviamotornaya and Lefortovo stations (one station)

Thirty-one stations opened along the Moscow Central Circle and 60 stations on the Moscow Central Diameters.

As always in recent years, the Moscow Metro has ambitious plans. This year, it will open nine new stations, six of which are already operational.

First, these are stations on Line 15 (Yugo-Vostochnaya, Okskaya, Stakhanovskaya and Nizhegorodskaya). The pink line is now fully operational. It is more than 22 km long. Comfortable new-generation Moskva trains run on this line.

Second, a section of the Big Circle Line between Aviamotornaya and Lefortovo stations integrated with Line 15 has been opened. In the future, these stations will be part of the Big Circle Line, but today operate as part of Line 15.

Elektrozavodskaya, Ulitsa Narodnogo Opolcheniya and Karamyshevskaya stations on the northeastern and western sections of the Big Circle Line are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Ulitsa Narodnogo Opolcheniya station is under construction near the Marshala Zhukova Prospekt and Demyana Bednogo Street intersection. It will have two underground entrance halls and passengers will be able to exit to surface bus stops. Karamyshevskaya station will be located in the northern part of the Mnyovnikovskaya Poima (Flood Plain). The Mnyovniki transport hub is expected to be built there, with residential, sports, public, business and social facilities.

New trams and electric buses 

Other comfortable surface transit equipment is appearing in Moscow. Bus and tram rolling stock are being upgraded and eco-friendly electric buses are starting to run along city streets. Daily, surface transit carries 7.4 million people, which is 15 percent higher than in 2010. Buses, electric buses and trams run on schedule in 97 percent of cases, which is 28 percent higher than in 2010.

Moscow has 1,050 routes (including 13 night routes and 47 Magistral network routes) and over 400 km of tram tracks. In addition, there are 351 km of bus designated lanes that give priority to public transit vehicles.

Today, 350 Vityaz-Moskva trams ply city streets. They have climate control, satellite navigation, CCTV cameras, free Wi-Fi and USB ports to charge devices. Trams are near noiseless and smooth, which makes travelling more comfortable and movement less audible for those who live in nearby buildings.

The new, high-tech trams run in northeastern, eastern, southeastern and central Moscow. They have carried almost 200 million passengers since entering service.

Electric buses, which were first launched in Moscow in 2018, are even more innovative. They run on 29 routes in central, northern, eastern, western, northeastern and northwestern Moscow. Today there are 400 electric buses, but the number will is expected to reach 600 by the end of the year.

The new electric buses were designed under today’s safety and environmental standards. They can carry 85 passengers, have satellite navigation, climate control, USB ports and information media monitors. The new buses are also suited for disabled passengers with low floors, ramps and wheelchair areas.

Electric buses can be recharged in six to ten minutes with high-speed charging stations located at the ends of the lines; expected range is 40–50 km.

Carsharing, taxi and bike share  

According to analytical agency Autostat, Moscow has the largest car-sharing inventory in the world. Moscow has already surpassed Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai. Last year, 14,500 new cars were added to Moscow car-share providers, which now has 31,000 cars total. Last year, 47 million trips were taken. Moreover, electric cars were added to the car-sharing system last year.

Restoring taxis as cheap, safe and easily accessible transport is another key area of upgrades for Moscow’s public transit. Moscow has almost 80,000 taxis with over 1,450 parking spots.

Photo: Evgeny Samarin

Moreover, Moscow has a well-developed bike-share system launched back in 2013. The system has over 6,000 bicycles and 570 rental stations in 79 city districts. Since 2018, it has also been possible to rent scooters: there are over 3,000 in Moscow. The service is quite popular: Muscovites took only 140,000 rides in 2018, but the number grew to 500,000 just a year later.

Photo: Maxim Denisov

However, Moscow’s ambitious plans to develop city transit do not end there. The city will continue to comprehensively develop key projects. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the construction of new stations will continue: in the future, the metro will reach the township of Severny  and Troitsk.

Photo: Yuliya Ivanko

Surface transit upgrades will also continue: it will become more comfortable, advanced and also eco-friendly. Starting in 2021, mostly electric vehicles will be added to the fleet, all of which will make it easy to choose comfortable and modern public transport within walking distance of home.