MOSCOW The Russian capital is as famous for its maddening traffic as for its world-class ballet and borscht. Hoping to ease the congestion, Moscow is set to spend a record 2.2 trillion rubles, ($70 billion) to update the metropolitan areas transport system. That is more then twice the amount spent for any single municipal program in Moscow in the past five years.
The lions share of the money is going to be spent on new roads, including improvements in Moscows connections to other regional cities, and the development of the municipal subway system. By 2016, the city expects to have built 474 kilometers of new roads and 85.6 kilometers of new metro lines.
Although the city is planning to expand the roads for private cars, the real hope is that improvements in the public transportation system will entice commuters to leave their cars at home. To make public transport more attractive, the city is making the buses, trams and trolley-buses more comfortable, and replacing 2,373 subway cars and 119 escalators at subway stations.
As part of the improvements in the metro system, Moscows Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has also promised to install special anti-vibration tracks and tunnels in the area surrounding the Bolshoi Theater. Home to the famous Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera, the theater has been closed for reconstruction since 2005, with the much anticipated reopening set for next month. Part of the reconstruction was a new 330-seat concert hall located underground, less than 30 meters from the closest subway station, and officials consider these special anti-vibration measures necessary to protect the acoustics of the new hall.
In addition to the public transport changes, the city will add 15,000 taxis to the current fleet of 10,000. Getting a cab will also become easier: Passengers will be able to order a cab by sending an SMS, and the wait time is expected to drop from 30 to 15 minutes.
Read more in Russian here and here.
*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations