Commentary for TV Centre network

10 June 2014

Question: Mr Sobyanin, the main phases of the city’s transport infrastructure development were outlined at the Moscow Government meeting today. It was mentioned that Moscow already has a comprehensive transport infrastructure, but that there are still some unresolved issues. For example, it takes over an hour to drive from the MKAD to central Moscow during peak hours. What do you plan to do to help those who use public transport and also those who drive?

Sergei Sobyanin: Saying that we have some issues is putting it mildly. We have many big issues, which is obvious. We have only pointed to minor positive changes in the city, but this is nevertheless a major achievement, because the number of people and private cars is increasing in Moscow and the Moscow Region. The traffic situation has been deteriorating for the past 20 years. We have only seen the first positive change in the past few months: traffic congestion has eased, if only a little. This shows that we are moving in the right direction, but we have barely started, although we have made a lot of progress on our largest infrastructure projects.

Anyway, we’ve built 25 kilometres of new metro lines. But we need to build another 130 kilometres. We have built or renovated 200 kilometres of roads, but we need another 400 kilometres. These are huge projects, but the problem is huge too. The traffic situation in Moscow is more complicated than in any other major city in the world. To resolve this, we need to implement all the measures in our plans, that is, build a new transport infrastructure, upgrade our public transit equipment, further develop surface transit, railways, and so on. All of these goals are challenging. And we also need to improve the city street network.

Question: But looking beyond the MKAD, we see that many Muscovites and millions of Moscow Region residents drive to work in Moscow every day. This passenger traffic flow is really huge. What will you do for them in the next few years?

Sergei Sobyanin: Exactly, this is one more problem, which is no less acute than traffic in Moscow, where these two flows mingle. There are Muscovites who ride to places of their work in Moscow in the morning, and also millions of people from nearby regions who work in Moscow. We will not resolve the general problem without settling the traffic issue both in Moscow and in the Moscow Region. We cannot build the metro everywhere. So the only solution is to improve the commuter rail system. We have a big programme in cooperation with Russian Railways, the Moscow Region government and the federal Ministry of Transport. Under the programme, we plan to build over 200 kilometres of new commuter mainline capacity, which means that train frequency will increase. Next, we need a fundamentally new type of railway carriage. Also, I hope the Ministry of Transport will continue to build roads in the Moscow Region, notably the construction and renovation of outbound roads and also all new roads. This is very important.

Question: One of the city’s goals has been formulated as follows: to increase the number of people with metro access. But while working to make the metro more accessible, we shouldn’t forget about the other side of the issue. Many metro lines have reached their ridership capacity. Will the metro become less comfortable if the traffic load continues to increase?

Sergei Sobyanin: No. Accessibility includes both proximity to metro stations and a comfortable ride. So far, the Moscow Metro only has one ring line in the city centre. This implies that we need to build new interchange circuits to ease congestion in central Moscow and on the metro in general. This is why we are working with Russian Railways on the Smaller Moscow Belt Railway (SMBR), which will, practically speaking, become a second interchange circuit. Commuters will no longer need to ride to the closest metro station or all the way to the centre of the city to get to the metro. They’ll be able to choose a more optimal route on the belt railway.

As for the third interchange circuit, we are building it as part of the metro system. This is a huge project too. So when we finish the further development of the metro and the SMBR, we’ll have two more interchange circuits that will ease passenger congestion in the metro in central Moscow. Don’t forget that we are also building new long metro lines towards the new neighbourhoods in Solntsevo and Novo-Peredelkino, and the Kozhukhovskaya Line, which will carry passengers to the interchange circuits. This should create additional transit opportunities for those who live where we building new metro stations and also ease pressure on the existing metro lines.

Question: Trucks remain a major headache for Moscow and private vehicle drivers. You have plans to cut motor traffic by half. Will you impose a truck ban?

Sergei Sobyanin: As you know, we have started reducing traffic volumes by banning commercial vehicles from transiting through Moscow. However, many trucks receive entry passes because they deliver products to supermarkets and industrial plants in the city. This can’t be avoided; it is part of urban life. But we should gradually reduce the number of trucks that enter the city during the day and require more overnight deliveries, and this especially concerns heavy trucks. That’s the first thing. Secondly, you know that the development plans for the Moscow transport hub provide for building the Central Ring Road (TsKAD). The Ministry of Transport held a tender this year and construction should begin soon. One more ring road will certainly ease traffic congestion in the city and on the MKAD, and would allow trucks to avoid the centre of Moscow by using the TsKAD.

Question: Will this traffic development programme clash with the Moscow Government’s environmental programmes? You have discussed that today. The environmental programme says clearly that the city should improve the quality of the transport system to reduce noise and pollution and ensure clean air.

Sergei Sobyanin: Efforts to improve the transport system are having a positive effect on the environment. For example, all the city buses that used Euro 1, Euro 2 or even Euro 0 fuel have been replaced. Now nearly all the new buses are environmentally friendly. Our next goal is to ensure that not only public transit companies but also private companies renew their vehicle fleets. You know that we have banned the sale of any petrol below the Euro 4 standard in Moscow. This is one more environmental quality improvement. Muscovites are contributing to environmental improvement by buying more eco-friendly cars. And the continuing development of public transit is reducing traffic. These are two interconnected issues, because transport is 90% responsible for the quality of air. By the way, this is the first time that we have recorded a reduction in both traffic congestion and carbon dioxide emissions, which is one of the standards of the quality of the urban environment.

Question: Thank you Mr Sobyanin.

Sergei Sobyanin: Thank you.

Sourse: The website of the Mayor and the Government of Moscow

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