Fast, convenient, profitable: Moscow Central Diameters are two years old

November 26, 2021

For two years now, passengers have been using Moscow Central Diameters (MCD) — a new surface metro that creates a jointless space in the Moscow metropolitan area. During this time, 309 million people have been transported by comfortable trains — this is more than twice the population of Russia.

In November 2019, traffic was launched along the first two diameters - MCD-1 and MCD-2. The first one connects Odintsovo and Lobnya through the central part of the capital, the second one connects Nakhabino and Podolsk. By 2025, it is planned to launch traffic on all five routes, which will cover railway directions around Moscow.

"The MCD is a project that allowed us to re-analyze the functioning of suburban rail transport in Moscow and the region. The surface metro lines have provided completely different opportunities for millions of people and the Moscow metropolitan area as a whole. The overall growth of passenger traffic, increase in the number of short trips within the city, reduction of road costs, unloading of highways and metro, a powerful momentum for the development of once forgotten and unattractive territories allow us to say that we are moving in the right direction. And we will continue to develop existing diameters and draw the launch of the next ones nearer," Maxim Liksutov, Deputy Moscow Mayor for Transport, says.

What has changed in the two years of operation of the first Moscow Central Diameters and why people are increasingly choosing this type of transport — in the material

From Inconvenient Commuter Trains to a Modern Surface Metro

The traffic launch along the Moscow central diameters became the basis for the creation of a fundamentally new public transport system. The diameters created on the basis of suburban railway routes have become part of the Moscow transport system.

With the beginning of the implementation of this transport megaproject, the old commuter trains received a new look, status and functionality. The MCD has advantages that raise passenger transportation in the Moscow region to a new level. These are modern trains, comfortable suburban and city stations, advantageous payment system, timing operating condition, as well as integration with other types of transport — passengers can change transport quickly in metro stations, the Moscow Central Circle (MCC), bus and tram stops.

To achieve such a level of passenger service, a lot of work was done before the launch and it continues now.

Despite the large scale of the project, the first two diameters were launched in just two years. During this short period of time by the standards of transport construction, the format of suburban railway communication has changed and has begun to meet the pace of Moscow and the region development. If earlier the main task of railway lines was to transport passengers out of the city and to the country, now the MCD is also an excellent alternative for short trips inside the capital.

We can confidently say that the MCD project has managed to turn outdated suburban trains into a surface metro combined with the subway, MCC and above-ground transport. Comfortable transport has become more accessible for four million people — these are residents of 45 districts of the capital and seven city districts outside Moscow.

The MCD, as well as the MCC launch five years ago, became a momentum for the territories around the stations development. If earlier these lands were abandoned or unused industrial zones, today investors are actively investing in their development, building business centers and residential neighborhoods.

Modern Suburban and City Train Stations Instead of Platforms

For two years of MCD-1 and MCD-2 operation 22 stations have been built or reconstructed there. Of these, 13 are for the first two diameters, and the rest are for promising routes. All of them are designed for increasing the passengers flow.

The new stations are full-fledged stations of the European level with passenger terminals, turnstiles, ticket offices, escalators, elevators, toilets, electronic displays with timetables, as well as canopies for the entire length of the platforms. The stations are fully adapted for passengers with restricted mobility.

In addition, now the passengers of the MCD can use the paratransit services of the Passenger Mobility Center. A request for this service can be sent via the Moscow Metro application, by phone or on the metro website. Over two years, more than two thousand such requests have been received.

This autumn, modern ticket machines have been installed at eight popular metro stations where there is a transfer point to the metro, with the help of which you can buy and replenish the Troika card — both ordinary and in the form of a ring, keyring, bracelet or other accessories.

Since November 2019, Setun, Novodachnaya, Dolgoprudnaya and Bakovka stations have been reconstructed, and Slavyansky Boulevard has been built at the MCD-1; and at the MCD-2, Opalikha, Nakhabino and Podolsk stations have been reconstructed Volokolamskaya, Penyagino, Ostafievo, Kuryanovo and Shchukinskaya stations have been built.

In addition, stations are being reconstructed and opened for future diameters. For the promising MCD-3, which will connect Zelenograd and Ramenskoye, the transport interchange hubs Likhobory and Khovrino are ready, and for the MCD-4 — the new Sanino station and the reconstructed Pobeda, Michurinets, Krekshino, Vnukovo, Aprelevka and Kokoshkino stations. The fourth diameter will be the longest - through the central part of the metropolis, it will connect Aprelevka and Zheleznodorozhny, connect seven Moscow railway stations (Kursk, Yaroslavl, Kazan, Leningrad, Savelovsky, Riga and Belorussky). There will be 18 transfer stations on the MCD-4 with 35 options for changes to metro stations, MCC and other diameters.

Long and Inconvenient Transfers are in the Past

The MCD stations are not just becoming comfortable and modern, but are turning into large transport interchange hubs (TIH). This allows passengers to plan convenient routes for moving around the city, which save money and time.

This year, on the border of the Shchukino and Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo districts, one of the largest transport interchange hubs, Shchukinskaya, was opened. It united the new MCD-2 Shchukinskaya station and the Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya metro line station of the same name, the transfer between them takes only three minutes. In addition, passengers can quickly transfer to more than 20 tram and bus routes that pass through the TIH. A walkway with a canopy leads from the second diameter station to the metro and ground transport stops. Since the opening, the number of passengers of Shchukinskaya (MCD-2) has increased by 1.5 times. And in the future, about 70 thousand passengers will use all the TIH every day.

From 21 of the 60 stations of MCD-1 and MCD-2, you can transfer to the metro and MCC. In the future, the total number of stations will grow to 66, and transfer stations to 27. Over the past two years, diameter passengers have already made 93 million free transfers to the metro and MCC.

On weekdays, the surface metro carries more than 570 thousand passengers a day. Thanks to convenient transfers, MCDs are in demand not only for traveling from the region to the capital and back, but also for short trips inside Moscow. For 2 years, this indicator has grown by 86 percent. This suggests that the diameters have become a good alternative to other types of urban and personal transport.

In addition, the diameters allowed unloading nearby highways by five to nine percent, and metro lines — up to 12 percent.

Modern Trains Instead of Outdated Trains

The former format of commuter transportation was largely inconvenient for passengers who traveled to work in Moscow almost daily and then back home. With the MCD launch, their trips have become more convenient, primarily due to the change of the traffic schedule. Trains timetable appeared — they began to run at a certain interval, during peak hours it is only five to seven minutes.

In order to make trips to the MCD comfortable, modern trains are needed. During the first year of two diameters operation, the rolling stock was completely updated. Today, Ivolga and Lastochka, EP2D and double-decker airport shuttle trains run on the routes — their average age is about three years. This is one of the youngest electric train fleets in Europe.

The main trains of the first two diameters are modern Ivolgi with climate control, free Wi-Fi and USB charging, toilets. Passengers can place their luggage and bicycles in specially designated areas. In the Ivolga trains, there are no vestibules, there are wide doorways, doors open with a button or automatically. The train accelerates quickly, smoothly and silently. All conditions have been created here for the comfort of passengers with restricted mobility.

Paying for Fare is Profitable and Easy

The new format of transport also required a new fare payment system. The main task in its development was the integration of diameters into the urban transport network. Therefore, the Troika card has become the basis of the new tariff service.

With the MCD launch, passengers who used to use trains began to pay less. There are free transfers from the MCD to the metro and MCC, which allows you to make trips around Moscow up to 50 percent cheaper (and in the region — up to 75 percent).

For example, a regular trip from Podolsk to the center of Moscow with a transfer at the Kurskaya railway station will cost 190 rubles, and if you do the same way at the MCD tariff - only 50 rubles. Thus, passengers of diameters have already saved more than six billion rubles in two years.

You can pay for fare not only with a Troika, but also with a bank card directly at the turnstiles — this opportunity appeared this spring. After the passenger makes the trip, the system will automatically select the most favorable tariff. The service is becoming more and more popular — this method has already been used 2.3 million times.

Trips by the MCD can be made even cheaper. From September until the end of this year, a special offer is valid in the metro, on diameters and MCC — when paying with a Mir card, you can additionally save up to 20 rubles. The trip is cheaper by 10 rubles when paying with a bank card and by 20 rubles when paying with a smartphone.

Photo by Vladimir Novikov, Press Service of the Mayor and Moscow Government

Plans for the Coming Year

In total, there will be five Central Diameters in Moscow. The last of them — MCD-5 — is planned to be launched by the end of 2025. When all the diameters finish constructing, the Moscow metropolitan area will have a surface metro network of 182 stations, 67 of which will be transfer stations. Work continues not only on future diameters, but also on existing ones.

By the end of 2022, the Timiryazevskaya station will be opened at the MCD-1 after reconstruction. At the same diameter, work on the integration of the Okruzhnaya station with the MCC station of the same name (and in the future with the metro) will be completed within a year, they will be connected by a covered way. In addition, by the end of 2022, the Pechatniky and Maryina Roshcha stations will be opened at the MCD-2, which will become the core of large TIH with transfers to metro and ground transport.

Three stations are planned to be completed for the future MCD-4 by the end of this year: Matveevskaya, Aminevskaya and Minskaya, and in 2022, six will be built or reconstructed — Tolstopaltsevo, Meshcherskaya, Peredelkino, Lesnoy Gorodok, Ochakovo, Minskaya (second stage).

In addition, next year it is planned to complete the first stage of the railway to Sheremetyevo airport construction.

Large-scale work is also continuing on the development of old and construction of new portion of lines to launch the third and fourth diameters.


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