MOSCOW METRO RAIL
Efficient and artistic.
Imade extensive use of Moscow metro rail. Initially it was a bit difficult to decipher the system due to signs, all in Russian, and announcements in Russian and sometimes in English. These metro stations are easily identifiable with a big M letter in front of the station. Most of the stations I travelled are underground, some with two or three lines meeting. Interchanging lines, all differently coloured, is easy after one figures out where to go. Most stations are accessible through elevators while some have steps. Much walking, going up and down elevators and steps is needed. Unfortunately, some of these are not disabledfriendly as there are no escalators, sometimes only steps. But there are helpful co-passengers who would assist those carrying luggage. Stations are clean and no smoking is allowed anywhere inside.
Moscow has a population of 12 million out of which nine million travel daily on the metro rail system which has 10 different lines, two circle lines and two connecting railway networks. Obviously, during peak period the trains are crowded, though there are trains at 90second intervals. Moscow metro is one of the most extensive and busy metro systems in the world. Some of these stations are artistically decorated with murals, statutes and paintings, works of art that have held millions spellbound. Stations are well-lit with signs at many places. Even the number of the line is marked on the floor with arrows indicating the directions. Security exists at all metro stations. Each bag has to be passed through an xray belt. Personal checking is rare but one has to pass through a metal detector. The security personnel are efficient but polite. Plastic cards can be bought at metro stations with
the number of rides one wants. Each ride costs about ` 40. Moscow metro network extends to 325 km carrying 9915 trains daily. Signalling, centralised traffic control and automatic interlocking are some of the features of the metro system. The metro work started in 1934 and newer lines are being added regularly catering to increasing demand.
PROBLEM FOR FIRST-TIME USER
The first-time user of the Moscow metro, a foreign visitor for instance, could have problems initially in figuring out the system. First, he or she has to locate the metro station, indicated outside by a big letter M, and then search for the ticket office, which is often near the entrance. Then that person has to hand over the Russian money of the desired denomination and tell the counter clerk or show fingers how many rides he/she wants to buy. The plastic card can be used on the metro, bus, tram and trolley bus. It is held over the sensor near the entrance gate that automatically allows one inside. Once inside, that person could stay on the metro or any other vehicle as long as needed and travel extensively from line to line without coming out of the metro station or any public vehicle. That is the convenience of buying a metro card. It would be useful to know a few Russian words commonly used. Also, it is desirable for a tourist to have a list of Russian Cyrillic alphabets and their English alphabet equivalents. It is, of course, essential to have a coloured map of the Moscow metro network. No one uses his or her cellphone while seated and very few talk to others.
Metro coaches are modern with good lighting and public announcements. A line map would show the route and the stations with a red lamp glowing over it. Announcements in general are in Russian and often in English too. They announce the station where the metro train has stopped and the next station that is coming up. There are only a few seats while provision is there for standing. A few seats are reserved for disabled, aged, women with children and pregnant women, but often those occupying such seats do not get up, with exceptions. Trains are crowded during peak hours.
MOSCOW HAS A POPULATION OF 12 MILLION OUT OF WHICH NINE MILLION TRAVEL DAILY ON THE METRO RAIL SYSTEM WHICH HAS 10 DIFFERENT LINES, TWO CIRCLE LINES AND TWO CONNECTING RAILWAY NETWORKS.