Posted by kvolk on June 11th, 2006
You can’t drive in Moscow. Well, you can, but it’s not easy. The roads are narrow compared to the US, the one-way systems are confusing, and the demand for road space far outstrips supply, particularly in the center. This is why in this city of about 11 million people, roughly 8 million people a day find their way onto one of Stalin’s legacies in the former Soviet capital, the Moscow metro. It is far cheaper to use the subway than to pay for gas. A single ride costing only 15 rubles about $.55), and it is much faster. During the course of our bus trip from the airport to the hotel the day we arrived, we traveled one third of the total distance around the ring motorway to our hotel. It took about two hours, and traffic wasn’t even gridlocked. A similar trip by metro would have taken perhaps an hour and a quarter.
Now imagine what would happen if suddenly the metro vanished from the transport network here. Suddenly, there would be millions more cars on the roads. Traffic would come to a complete halt, commerce would cease. The city could not function without its metro.
Simply put, the task of the public transport in this city is staggering. It is almost single-handedly responsible for keeping the city functioning. The city’s network, while large by the standards of subways, is still only 278 kilometers in length, and yet it handles so much traffic. You may not be a transit nut like me, but even the most disinterested person cannot help but marvel at the task which this network performs every day.