An above-ground rail system linking the Moscow metro with 10 towns in the surrounding region will be in place by 2015, acting regional governor Andrei Vorobyov told Forbes magazine.
The network is to consist of 10 rail lines and construction will cost about 236 billion rubles ($7.23 billion), financed by the city, regional and federal budgets, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported Tuesday.
The lines will be built along the busiest commuter routes and will be based on a network of specially designated enclosed tracks. A timetable is also being developed to ensure that the planned commuter transport service doesn't disrupt freight traffic, the regional transportation ministry's press service said.
Authorities say the metro may use the same type of trains with comfortable seats and toilets currently being purchased for the suburban train service.
The city's transport department presented the new plan to develop the Moscow transportation hub one year ago in response to growing commuter traffic between Moscow and the surrounding areas.
According to the department's statistics, 2.5 million people come to the capital from the Moscow region every day — 500,000 by land public transportation, 700,000 by suburban trains, also known as elektrichkas, and 1.3 million by car — which creates Moscow's notorious traffic jams. Laying additional track is expected to substantially improve the overall traffic situation and reduce time spent on commuting every day.
The above-ground metro system's lines will reach out to densely populated towns located 20-40 kilometers away from the capital, including Podolsk, Odintsovo and Lyubertsy.
The new system will have terminals with park-and-ride capabilities in 10 of the regions towns as well as all three major Moscow airports. In Moscow it will be integrated with the ring railway inside the city, Vorobyov said.