"We have summed up the first results of the work of the express tram connected to the commuter train belt line. 1.5-millionth passenger is a proof that we did right having opened this route, becoming popular among more and more Troyeshchyna residents," head of the Kyiv city administration Oleksandr Popov said and added that projects do not finish here.
The one and a half millionth passenger of the express tram Maryna Vladislavovna was presented a gift voucher and five other passengers won travel passes for March and certificates for free of charge travel passes for the rest of the year.
The winner told the press she is happy with the route and takes it every day. According to specialists, the passenger flow on the express tram - commuter train route is rather big and even exceeds the expected level.
However, despite positive comments, the system still needs improvements. Director General of the "Kyivpstrans" communal enterprise Mykola Lambutski informed that a new tram-train would be launched at the end of April. The innovation costs 10 million hryvnias.
"The trains used on the line are of production of our enterprise. We plan to upgrade the model range, and a new tram-train will be presented somewhere at the end of April. It will meet European standards on look and quality. After two months of testing, it will be put into operation. Moreover, we plan to add four tram-trains of the same model being used now," Lambutski said.
After the launch of the express tram line, the new fare system was tested for the first time.
"The new pay-gate system functions at all stations of the express tram. It is a pilot project, covering only one route for the moment (bus #6), but before the yearend all public transport will be equipped with the new system. The system includes special scanners, reading contact cards, including social cards of Kyiv residents. It is important for us, as we will know exact number of welfare beneficiaries. Secondly, the system provides for application of electronic ticket-puncher. This is a step towards improvement of service quality and economic security. The system will not allow any abuse or scams being used to avoid fare payment. Every vehicle will have a computer, registering the passenger flow," Lambutski underlined.
The city authorities also intend to develop the project of city commuter train. Now train runs every 17-19 minutes, but only in the morning and in the evening. Passengers admit that commuting has become easier, but ask to launch trains also during the day.
"I am so happy with the commuter train. I used to waste time in traffic jams for hours, but with the commuter train, I have not had any delays this year. However, it would be even better if trains run also during the day, at least every hour," a passenger Oleksandr Kutsai comments.
Chairman of the city administration promises to consider the issue. Morning and evening traffic of the commuter train depends on the schedule of "Ukrzaliznytsia". There is only one railroad bridge, while trains are numerous. Popov also noted that two new platforms would be opened this year, and two more train cars would be put into operation in April.
"Putting more train cars into the operation we will reduce the waiting time gap and will increase the maximum number of passengers we can transport. It is very important for rush hours," he added.
Specialists note that the plan also includes construction of five ground pedestrian bridges for communication between the right and left sides of Honoré de Balzac Street and adjoining streets. The bridges will be three-meter wide and equipped with elevators and platforms with low curb stone for disabled and old people to have easy access.
Passengers also commented on inconvenient low platforms and old railway vehicles - comparing to new trams, old commuter train looks sad.
This young man asked about promised subway line to Troyeshchyna.
According to the head of city administration, the construction of the newline will start already this year.
"Transportation scheme to Troyeshchyna is one of the priority tasks for the Kyiv authorities. This year we will start the construction of the new line, connecting the Left bank with the city. The construction will start with the stations on the Right bank, as it is faster. We need at least three stations to provide the connection of the new line with the rest of the subway. The first station will be ready in 2.5-3 years," Popov said.
According to the official, the new line will consist of 12 stations. "The terminal station on the Right bank will be in Zhulyany, and the terminal on Troyeshchyna will be Mylolavska, where we plan to build the engine house. Among the interchange stations there is the central railway station," Popov added.
The budget of the project makes about 16 billion hryvnias, and the city authorities are now considering the variants of financing. On March 20, Vnesheconombank of Russia, which won the tender on development of financing schemes, will give a detailed report. Moreover, the city authorities develop their own variant and plan to submit it to the Prime Minister in the near future.
"We propose to adopt changes to the Budget Code, according to which a part of deductions into the state budget will stay in the city budget and used for the construction of the forth subway line. We speak about eight billion hryvnias annually. Even if the state lets the city keep only 3-4 billion annually, we still will have stable financing for the project. We have worked out every detail of the project and we know it will work," Popov summed up.
Along with the construction of the new subway line, the authorities plan to launch the construction of Podolski Bridge. It is expected to be open for traffic already at the end of 2014.
"This year we have a new incentive for the construction of this bridge. Considering that we will have means for the construction of the subway line, we can allocate money for the construction of the bridge. These are two simultaneous projects - bridge on the ground, subway under the ground," Popov noted. According to him, within the next two months it is planned to mount two arcs and finish the construction of the passage. "Active construction will be resumed this year, and already at the end of 2014 we will be able to run the first car through this bridge," he added.
Well, these are the prospects and plans for the development of the public transport system on the Left bank of Kyiv. The time will show whether these plans are realizable.
Tetyana Matsur, Viktor Kovalchuk
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