Quick, convenient, cheap: The first Moscow Central Diameters opened six months ago

May 27

21 May marks six months since the opening of the Moscow Central Diameters, a new and unique addition to the public transit mix.  In late November 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin launched service on the MCD-1 Belorussko-Savyolovsky route (Odintsovo-Lobnya) and the MCD-2 Kursko-Rizhsky route (Nakhabino-Podolsk). Since November, these commuter train services that operate across the city centre as part of the transit system, offer passengers new opportunities to get around.

“In six months of service, the Moscow Central Diameters have proven successful, becoming an integral part of the city and the Moscow Region’s transit system. They have also spurred the development of adjacent territories. In the first few months of service, they have reduced road congestion, and the number of metro passengers has decreased by 12 percent,” Head of the Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development Maxim Liksutov said.

MCD routes have helped many Muscovites and Moscow Region residents change their transport habits. Today, they have new, convenient and logical routes making it possible to save time and money. Many commuter train passengers no longer have to get off at the nearest interchange station. Now, people can change from the railway to the metro without an extra charge and use the Troika transit card in Moscow and the Moscow Region.

Over 63 million trips

In the first six months, MCD-1 and MCD-2 passengers have used the new service over 30 million and over 33 million times respectively. But for the coronavirus epidemic, this number would have been much higher.

“Passengers use was on an upward trajectory after the diameters opened, until the lockdown, which indicates their high popularity. On 6 March, the routes carried 568,000 passengers, an all-time high. This is 15 percent more than the same period in 2019 prior to the MCDs,” Mr Liksutov added.

In six months of operation, Odintsovo, Tsaritsyno, Begovaya, Tushinskaya and Podolsk became the most popular stations on both routes. Passengers mostly used these terminuses and interchange stations, and this illustrates the successful integration of MCD routes with the Moscow transport system’s ticket system.

“The integration of the city’s fares system allows users to spend 50 percent less on tickets, and Moscow Region residents can spend up to 75 percent less. In the past six months, passengers have saved about 620 million roubles,” Mr Liksutov said.

At first, everyone could ride MCD trains for free. From 9 December, people started paying for their trips, and the ticket system is functioning smoothly. Turnstiles and validators can scan all types of Troika card and mobile apps and process the data faster. For passenger convenience, the system of fares at adjoining stations has been improved; it’s easy now to change between some stations’ platforms.

Construction and rebuilding

Both routes now have 58 stations. It is possible to change to metro lines and the Moscow Central Circle belt railway at 19 stations. The number of stations will reach 66 by 2024, and there will be 27 interchange stations.

Since November last year, three new stations, Volokolamskaya, Penyagino and Ostafyevo, have opened on the MCD routes. At Volokolamskaya, passengers can change to the popular Volokolamskaya metro station, located only two minutes away.

“The opening of new MCD stations makes it possible to reroute passenger traffic, to reduce the load on the most congested stations and railway sections. And previously low-use metro stations are becoming more popular. Since MCD service began, the new Volokolamskaya metro station started handling 45 percent more passengers because commuter train users can now change to the metro here,” Mr Liksutov noted.

People living at the Pavshinskaya Poyma can now walk to their new surface rail station. The Ostafyevo station has improved public transit in the Novomoskovsky Administrative Area, which has no metro line yet.

The city has finished rebuilding the Opalikha station on the MCD-2 route. This station has a platform with an overhang that shields people from snow and rain and an overpass, lifts and escalators.

Construction plans for 2020

The city plans to open four new stations, including Slavyansky Bulvar on the MCD-1 route, Shchukinskaya, Pechatniki and Kuryanovo on the MCD-2 route. Six stations, Dolgoprudnaya, Novodachnaya, Bakovka and Setun on the MCD-1 route, as well as Podolsk and Nakhabino on the MCD-2 route, will be upgraded from commuter service platforms.

The Novodachnaya, Dolgoprudnaya, Setun and Bakovka stations will receive modern passageways and ticket offices, lifts and escalators. The Novodachnaya station already has a new platform with a full-length overhead canopy, and a pedestrian overpass will also open there. In addition to the underpass leading to one platform, Setun will get an overpass to access all platforms. Bakovka will receive an additional underpass with a station hallway. A new overpass will be built at the Nakhabino station which will boast upgraded platforms. And a tunnel will be reconstructed in Podolsk.

“First, we will open the Slavyansky Bulvar station on the MCD-1 route. Passengers using this convenient station will change to the Slavyansky Bulvar station on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line through warm corridors. People in the Fili-Davydkovo District will get a railway station and will be able to change to Aeroexpress trains there,” Mr Liksutov added.

The Shchukinskaya and Pechatniki stations on the MCD-2 route form major transit hubs with metro stations. They will also get overpasses with lifts and escalators, and overhead protection will be built over the platforms, protecting passengers from precipitation. The Shchukinskaya station will replace the Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo station on the MCD-2 route. Residents of the Kuryanovo District will be able to use this “surface metro” system and a new overpass after the Kuryanovo station opens.

“This year, we will start building the Dmitrovskaya and Petrovsko-Razumovskaya stations on the MCD-1 route and the Maryina Roshcha station on the MCD-2 route. They will provide a change point from one route to another. Timiryazevskaya and Lobnya stations on the MCD-1 route are also planned,” Mr Liksutov added.

Photo: mos.ru. Maxim Denisov

Comfortable Ivolga trains

Commuter trains and Ivolga (Oriole) trains run on the first two MCD routes. Aeroexpress trains also run on the MCD-1 route, and the MCD-2 route uses Lastochka (Swallow) trains. This approach maintains high service intervals and facilitates shuttle traffic. Today, MCD routes offer 5-7 minute service intervals. All MCD trains show MCD graphics to help passengers adapt to the new mixed transit mode.

New Ivolga trains, which were designed and assembled in Russia now carry over 50 percent of the passengers on MCD routes. In the first month, MCD trains were expanded from six or seven to 11 carriages by passengers’ demand. This added up to a million passengers daily.

“We continue to renew rolling stock on MCD routes. Under Sergei Sobyanin’s instruction, the Central Suburban Passenger Company will replace the older trains on both MCD routes with new ones over a 12-month period,” Mr Liksutov said.

These routes will get 469 new carriages before the year is out. Seating capacity will jump by 15 percent, and the carriages will feature modern heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

The MCD and the pandemic

“We prioritise the health of passengers and their safety. Despite reduced passenger traffic volumes during the lockdown, we are carrying out preventive measures daily,” Mr Liksutov noted.

MCD stations are cleaned with special disinfectants every two hours. Turnstiles, validators, ticket machines, ticket office windows, bulletin boards and other surfaces that are touched by passengers are disinfected 12 times a day. Since early April, every touchpoint in MCD infrastructure has been disinfected about 600 times.

The trains are mopped and disinfected three times a day, that is, at night and before the morning and evening peak hours. All idle rolling stock is disinfected with cold steam at night. This technology helps treat all surfaces, including hard-to-reach places, without touching them. It takes about 90 minutes to disinfect one train. Since early April, each train has been disinfected about 50 times with this method. The trains also feature coated air filtration systems that can completely destroy germs.

Over 220 Central Suburban Passenger Company employees disinfect stations and trains with odourless chlorine-free substances recommended by Rospotrebnadzor. Over 2 million litres of disinfectant have been used to date.

Cashiers, controllers and train crews undergo medical checks and have their temperatures measured before each shift. They are issued face masks, gloves and sanitisers.

Passengers are told how to avoid being infected at stations and in MCD trains. Over 1,000 posters on both routes detail the Moscow transit system’s efforts to protect passengers and provide precautions. The PA system regularly tells passengers to wear face masks and gloves while using the transport system and provides information on the first symptoms of the disease.

Special markings in front of ticket offices, ticket-vending machines and turnstiles help passengers keep a safe distance of 1.5 metres. Over 1,000 metres of bright striping was used for this. Station doors and ticket offices feature 1,500 stickers reminding people of the need to wear face masks and gloves.

Sanitisers are being installed on MCD routes. In all, 23 stations have already received them, and all stations will get them soon. Every passenger can use the dispensers without touching them. People can also buy disposable face masks and gloves at over 100 ticket offices.

Passenger services

Before launching the MCD-1 and MCD-2 routes, experts included them on transit maps on the Moscow Metro app. This allows passengers to plot new routes and see interchanges. In the past six months, users have planned over 2.6 million routes using the app, including MCD routes.

“The Moscow Metro app is being developed together with the diameters, we upgrade it all the time and introduce new functions. After releasing it, we added video instructions on how to change from a metro station to an MCD station with information on MCD fares,” Mr Liksutov added.

The app has an MCD tab for accessing the diameters’ page with updates on the project.

The metro website also has a project page. The MCD map section helps plan MCD routes, calculate fares and see how money is deducted from Troika cards. This is the most popular section on the project page with over 1.7 million people using it to date. And over 7.5 million people have clicked on the MCD page since its inception.

The service’s Frequently Asked Questions section is also popular, and users can ask questions or make suggestions on the new system.  People have sent in 10,000 comments and questions via this format.

All the latest information on MCD routes is also available on official project pages, and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and V Kontakte social media networks. 

The MCD pavilion

The demonstration pavilion that has been open since late 2018 at the square near the Kievsky Railway Station provides detailed insight into MCD routes using modern technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality systems, projections, mapping, holograms and lots more. A full size model of an Ivolga train similar to those carrying passengers on these routes is the main exhibit.

“Over 220,000 people have visited the pavilion since it opened. Prior to the lockdown, it hosted city-level events regularly, including cultural, educational and sports events. This included lectures by historians, guides, journalists and MCD project participants who discussed the history of Moscow’s public transit system and other systems in the world, as well as their future,” Mr Liksutov noted.

The pavilion’s staff started working online from 19 March. “The pavilion organised an online quiz on MCD routes, railways and the Moscow transit system. A special programme for pavilion online events will be drafted after the lockdown,” Mr Liksutov noted.

In the past month, the MCD routes’ official Instagram account listed over ten events, including lectures, guided tours, book lotteries and online physical training sessions, with over 20,000 users watching them.

The demonstration pavilion designed them in cooperation with Traansmashholding, the Moscow Planetarium, the Youth Council of Moscow’s Department of Healthcare, the Moscow Cinema School, the Moscow Parking System and the Krasnogorsk subsidiary of the Victory Museum. Those attending lectures discussed various subjects, including architecture, the manufacture of modern trains, the labour market, chess games and neuro-hacking. The events included a meet-and-greet with Yelena Lysenko-Saltykova, Russia’s only female train driver.

Source: mos.ru

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