Since inauguration on June 10, Tehran Metro Line 7 has run for only three hours per day, from 10 am to 1 pm.
“But from Thursday, train services start an hour early at 9 am and will run until 2 pm,” said Ehsan Moqaddam, head of the public relations office of Tehran Urban and Suburban Railway Operation Company.
“At present, the minimum time interval between trains on the line is around 45 minutes,” he added.
The reason given for the limited service is that remaining stations on the line are still under construction.
This is normal during the early phases of a new subway line, he said, adding, “The operating hours will be increased soon.”
Currently, there are seven stations on the 22 km route. Once completed by the end of this fiscal in March 2018, the line will cover 31 km with the capacity to transport one million passengers every day.
On Thursday, Mohsen Sarkhou, who chairs Tehran City Council’s Urban Traffic and Transport Committee, criticized metro officials saying that train services on the 22-km 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, and the number should increase to at least 10, he said.
“We hope construction of the remaining stations on this line will be completed before the end of the current fiscal year,” he added.
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. “I believe the inauguration was pretty 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 this did not happen and despite the 1.5-year delay only seven stations have been opened,” and are not even running to full capacity, he rued.
The city’s subway system comprises six operational lines (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 – line 3 and 7 have yet to be completed) with nearly 100 stations. Line 6 is still under construction.
In June 2016, the metro company announced that Line 6 will be completed by September 2017. It starts from Sulqan in the northwest and ends in the working district of Dolat-Abad in the southeast.
There are 31, 22, 27, 21 and 11 stations on Line 1 (Tajrish-Kahrizak), Line 2 (Farhangsara-Sadeqiyeh), Line 3 (Qaem-Azadegan), Line 4 (Kolahdouz-Eram Sabz), and Line 5 (Sadeqiyeh-Karaj, Golshahr), respectively.
The subway carries more than 3 million passengers every day. Train services start at 5:30 am and run until 11 pm with one every 2-10 minutes.