Istanbul 2020 bid hails new metro line which is set to ease traffic congestion
Monday, 20 August 2012
August 20 - A new metro line on the Asian side of Istanbul has been inaugurated by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which officials of the city's campaign to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics are hailing as another positive development.
The long awaited "Line M4" is the first on the Asian side of the city and links Kadiköy station, near to the proposed Istanbul 2020 Port Cluster of Olympic venues, with Kartal 22 kilometres further south.
The new line has a capacity of 70,000 passengers per hour per direction and it is hoped will help ease the city's chronic traffic congestion, which is seen as one of the main handicaps of the city's Olympic bid, which is up against rivals Madrid and Tokyo.
"This Metro opening reflects the pledge made in the Istanbul 2020 application file that the Istanbul municipality aims to connect its citizens with a world-class, fully modernised transport network," said Hasan Arat, the leader of Istanbul 2020.
Istanbul has pledged to spend $1.2 billion (£765 million/€975 million) a year on improvements to the city's transport infrastructure that will help guarantee average journey times for Olympic athletes of just 20 minutes if their bid is successful.
The new line will initially carry around 700,000 passengers per day and will result in the removal of 572 busses and 1,227 mini-busses and thousands of cars from daily traffic, it is estimated.
The line will result in an annual saving of 1.1 billion TL (£389 million/$611 million/€496 million) in fuel, maintenance, and road renovation expenses, Turkish officials claim.
"This new line will also alleviate traffic congestion on the Asian side and improve the comfort and journey time of hundreds of thousands of spectators attending sports events at our proposed iconic Olympic venues on the Bosphorus," said Arat.
The new line is part of an ambitious project by Istanbul to radically overhaul its public transport system.
"Two continents will come together in 2013 with the Istanbul metro," said Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş.
"Our aim is to transport five million people every day with 230 kilometres railway and seven million in 2016.
"The biggest reward for me will be seeing Istanbul residents using fast and comfy transportation,"
Part of the reason London 2012 went off so smoothly was that public transport made it easy for spectators to travel to the venues, with the network defying predictions by holding up under the pressure.
"The success of London 2012 was due, in part, to an efficient integrated public transport network for spectators, the Olympic family as well as the host city residents," said Ugur Erdener, the President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey and a senior member of the International Olympic Committee.
"It is exciting to think that this new Line M4 could well be carrying Olympic passengers for Turkey's first ever Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020."
May 2012: Istanbul 2020 hope third bridge to be built over Bosphorus will help solve traffic problem