Traffic congestions, pollution and rapid population growth are all making life more difficult in megacities across Iran.
At the same time the facilities available to the public are attracting people living in smaller urban areas to migrate to big cities. With a growth in population, comes a growth in the size of the big cities and with it mayoral problems for the residents.
Iran is a country with the population of more than 75 million, most of whom living in big cities such as the capital Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Tabriz and Shiraz.
Every days millions commute between their homes and workplaces either inside those cities or outside using either public or private transportation. The influx of people during the morning and evening rush hour causes hour long traffic jams on city’s streets and highways flowing in and out of them, resulting in heavy air pollution and a rise in fuel consumption, not to mention the inevitable waste of time.
As people started to get to their destinations later and later and as the air pollution started to get worse, the Iranian government embarked on a plan to make it easier and cheaper for commuters to make their daily journeys.
The plan included building subway systems in Tehran and other big cities:
The Tehran Metro consists of four operational metro lines (and a fifth regional rail line), with construction begun on a further two lines in 2007.
The Tehran Metro carries more than 3 million passengers a day. In 2014, 815 million trips were made on Tehran Metro. As of April 2014, the system was 152 kilometers (94 mi) long; it is planned to have a length of 430 kilometers (270 mi) with 9 lines once all construction is complete by 2028.
On all days of the week, the Metro service runs from approximately 05:30 to 23:00.
The line uses standard gauge and is partly underground. Ticket price is 5000 IRR for each journey (about USD 0.15), regardless of the distance traveled, but using prepaid tickets costs much less. Seniors may travel for free on the metro. On all Tehran metro trains the first, the second, and the last carriages are reserved for women who do not wish to ride with men in the same car. Women can still ride other cars freely.
More and more residents use the metro due to the improvement in the peak-hour headways, the opening of more stations and overall improvement with new escalators, elevators, and air-conditioning in the trains.
Shiraz Metro is an urban rapid transit project being built in Shiraz, the capital city of Fars Province of Iran. Currently being developed and operated by Shiraz Urban Railway Organization, construction of the metro rail project started in 2001.
The first section of Line 1 of the metro system, running 10.5km from Ehsan in northern Shiraz to Namazi in central part of the city, was opened to public in October 2014. Construction is underway to further extend the line from Namazi to Gol-e-Sorkh Square near the airport, to increase the total length of the line to 24.5km.
A 10km Line 2 interchanging with Line 1 at Imam Hosein Square is also in early stage of construction, while four more lines, including the 10km Line 3 monorail, are planned to be built in future. The total length of the system is planned to be 88km.
Mashhad Metro is a light rail system operating in the holy city of Mashhad, in the Razavi Khorasan province of Iran. Operated by Mashhad Urban Railway, the project is also referred to as Mashhad Light Rail and Mashhad Urban Rail.
The city of Mashhad is spread over an area of 270km² and has a population of 5.2 million. Comprehensive studies for the construction of a new urban railway line were conducted during 1994-1999 and 2002-2004, highlighting the requirement for four new urban rail lines in Mashhad.
“Once fully operational, Line 1 will carry 17,000 passengers an hour in each direction.”
Construction of Line 1 commenced in 2000, while in 2004 plans for a 4.7km north extension of the line was announced. Trail runs on Line 1 began in January 2011, limited revenue services began in April 2011 and the line was formally opened to passengers in October 2011.
Once fully operational, Line 1 will carry 17,000 passengers an hour in each direction.
The subway system in the city of Tabriz is under construction and will include 4 lines in total. The first line of that is planned to be finished by March 2016 with 16 km length and 18 stations. There is also one regional commuter line planned to Sahand.
The subway system in the city of Isfahan is under construction and will include 2 lines with 43 km (27 mi) length. The first line of that is planned to be finished by end of 2015 with 21 km (13 mi) length and 20 stations. Until the metro is completed an expanded bus system accompanied by taxis will handle Isfahan intra-urban public transportation.
The subway system in Ahvaz is a urban railway under construction, by the Ahvaz urban railway. It will be a 23 km underground line with 24 stations.
All the images above for metros in Tehran and Shiraz