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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A complete ride on the new metro ring road takes 90 minutes

A common Moscow joke tip – they say, in a difficult life situation, sit on the Circle Line and spin around until you get bored – now shimmering in new colors. It takes 90 minutes to go around the entire LCL: that’s enough time for a very thoughtful conversation with yourself or the solution of any existential question. You may also have time to read a small book or watch a few episodes of your favorite television series.

The line was solemnly opened by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on March 1, 2023, and five days later the capital’s mayor found that more than 4 million trips had been made on the BCL . According to Sobyanin, Tekstilshchiki, Sokolniki and Kashirskaya became the most popular stations in the new BCL section in the first five days. In these stations, more than 70% of passengers transferred to the ring from other lines.

Sobyanin stressed: for Muscovites, BCL means new convenient routes and a record 47 transfers to other lines and directions. “Citizens now save up to 45 minutes a day, in particular because many no longer need to travel to the city center”, underlines the mayor. How does it work in practice?

Manufacturing, modernity and punctuality are the main principles of the Moscow metro today. The train is not one second late: as soon as the countdown ends on the huge clock, a new train arrives at Kakhovskaya station. There are not so many people in the car, but it is also impossible to say that, they say, no one needs a new line. “Kakhovskaya” may have lost some of the advantages of the terminal station, which it was over the past year (who would say, it’s good to get into an empty car!), but in return it acquired something incomparably greater – of paramount importance in the transport infrastructure of the city.

Photo: AGN “Moscow”

Roll counterclockwise. “Varshavskaya”, which we have not seen for more than two years (it was closed for repairs), has changed and not at the same time. The architecture is the same, but perhaps the shine and status have been added, the letters have become larger and brighter. No wonder: until recently, this station interested only a few Muscovites – those who live nearby, on Chongarsky Boulevard and the Varshavskoye highway of the same name; and now he’s part of the ring. Likewise, its neighbor, Kashirskaya Station, has also changed a lot, brightened up and beautified, although it remains the same centipede station built in the 1960s.

Further along the route, the stations are new, which did not exist at all before. The importance of “Klenovy Boulevard” or “Nagatinsky Backwater” can hardly be overstated – thanks to their appearance, citizens who have long resigned themselves to the need to get to the metro by bus or tram, found the coveted metro at walking distance.

– I can’t get used to the fact that now you can walk home from the subway! said a middle-aged man to his companion. They’ll get off at Klenovy Boulevard.

– And how much can I save on a taxi in the evening!

The couple laugh and leave the car, but the train rushes the passengers. New stations make you pay attention to the design – it is not in vain that the best masters of our time worked on them. So, on the “Nagatinsky whirlpool” passengers are greeted by huge, very naturalistic mosaic fish. I would like to recall a recent Internet meme: “Do you sell fish? No, we’re just showing. The reference is clear – here the Moscow River and the Southern Port are very close. Such references are everywhere: for example, at Zyuzino station, the ceiling is decorated in the shape of honeycombs, which should be associated with five-storey neighborhoods (they make one think of beehives!); and in the design of the Sokolniki station, the fact that once this station (of course, on the red line) was the first in the Moscow metro was great. The avant-garde and exhilarating atmosphere reigns there, taking us back to the mid-1930s, and the walls of the station are decorated with posters representing the first metro builders. The design of the new BKL stations reflects both the history and the very essence of Moscow – as if the ring that encircles the city takes on all that is most important from everywhere.

“Nizhegorodskaya” welcomes you with bright and invigorating yellow and orange walls. Despite the fact that there is a huge transport hub with a transfer to the MCC, there are not so many passengers entering the car. Although earlier, the city’s deputy mayor for urban policy and construction, Andrey Bochkarev, noted that the multiplatform Nizhegorodskaya station of the Big Circle and Nekrasovskaya metro lines is part of the largest transport interchange hub (TPU) of Europe, the creation of which culminated with the launch of the new circular line. The stations of the same name of the Moscow Central Ring (MCC), the Fourth Moscow Central Diameter (MCD-4), which also runs along the Gorky direction of the railway, and land transport stops are connected with this hub of transfer. Passengers settle in quickly, go about their business.

– How much time do we have left? moaned a boy of about five, dressed in a bright green jacket and matching hat.

– Another 15 minutes. But it’s faster to go to your grandmother than with transfers, right? – A young mother talks to her son like an adult. – Wait, watch the cartoon for now.

Photo: AGN “Moscow”

A child receives a smartphone. You quickly get used to the good; Muscovites can no longer imagine life without fast and high-quality underground Internet. The seats have convenient USB ports. Once they seemed exaggerated, but in a couple of years, probably, each of us at least once faced a situation when the phone or tablet urgently needed charging, and the subway helped. The smallest passengers are especially delighted: you can watch cartoons or play on a tablet, and the road will go unnoticed! You involuntarily remember your own childhood – the main entertainment on the subway was counting the lights in the tunnel … If only parents remembered the rules of modern etiquette and guessed to use headphones, and not to turn on the cartoon music for the whole car…that would be great! But, by the way, Muscovites have everything in front of them – did we learn to take off backpacks when getting into the car? This means that we will definitely learn how to use headphones to listen to music and audio messages. Moreover, the modern and neat appearance of the cars on the BKL itself suggests: in such an environment you should behave civilly! Another entertainment for children is to watch the touching baby elephant on the interactive dashboard above the door: every time the doors are closed, his trunk almost pinches, but he jumps in time. Much more visually than the stingy inscription “Do not bend over!”.

Long and uncomfortable transfers aren’t just for five-year-olds – with the advent of the BCL, the route has become more convenient and easier for everyone. In other cases, you save not time, but comfort. Here, say, from “Kakhovskaya” to “Sokolniki” on BKL 42 minutes. It’s even a little longer than going through the center, along the gray and red lines with a change at Borovitskaya – it turns out 39 minutes there. But it is much more pleasant to ride in a modern car without transfers and calmly read a book or watch a movie than to move in short iterations and go through long old transitions.

Photo: AGN “Moscow”

Muscovites accustomed to the old Koltsevaya line will have to adapt to fairly long journeys – on average 3 minutes – between BKL stations. Everything becomes clear as soon as you remember the distances: if, for example, from Oktyabrskaya to Park Kultury you can run at a brisk pace in 7-10 minutes on foot, then from Kaluzhskaya to Prospekt Vernadsky (the corresponding stations of red and orange lines on BKL) should travel by bus or car for at least 10-15 minutes. BKL allows you to do this route faster and without traffic jams. No wonder experts believe that the most popular route on the BKL will be a quarter circle – for example, from Sokolniki to Pechatniki or from Khoroshevskaya to Michurinsky Prospekt. There is nothing to say about crossings by 1-2 stations – BKL solves this very old problem of Moscow, when everything seems to be close – for example, from Sokolniki to Maryina Roshcha you can get there in 10 minutes by car – but it takes a long time to get to by public transport and uncomfortable. Now that’s in the past.

Or, say, “Business Center”. Until recently, the city of Moscow, which is destined to become the heart of a modern metropolis, was considered very badly located – they say, the Mezhdunarodnaya station is accessible only by shuttle trains on the metro blue line. Now the city’s business center is served by three lines at once: blue, yellow and BKL – exactly what a modern city needs!

The train rolls towards the western districts of Moscow. The stations “Terekhovo”, “Mnevniki”, “Aminyevskaya” and “Davydkovo” really turned out to be manna from heaven for the inhabitants of those areas of ZAO and SZAO, which it was always customary to talk about in a simplified way: say- they, good neighborhoods, prestigious, clean, but there are problems with the metro…

There are no more problems. Every day there are fewer problems in Moscow. And this is our common joy.


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