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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Transportation in Tbilisi

Tbilisi Metro serves the city with rapid transit subway services. It was the Soviet Union's fourth metro system. Construction began in 1952, and was finished in 1966. The system operates two lines, the Akhmeteli-Varketili Line and the Saburtalo Line. It has 22 stations. and 186 metro cars. Most stations, like those on other Soviet-built metro systems, are extravagantly decorated. Trains run from 6:00 am to midnight. Due to the uneven ground, the rail lines run above ground level in some areas. Two of the stations are above ground.
The Tbilisi Metro underwent a campaign of modernization. Stations were reconstructed, and trains and facilities were modernized. In 2005, President Mikheil Saakashvili charged Director General Zurab Kikalishvili with bringing the station up to European standards by 2007. In 2006, the city's budget allocated 16 million Lari for the project. A third line is being planned, which will encompass the Vake District. The three lines will form a triangle, and intersect in the city center.
Tbilisi had a tram network, since 1883 starting from horse driven trams and from 25 December 1904 electric tramway, When Soviet Union demolished electric transport went to a degradation state within the years and finally the only tram line left was closed on 4 December 2006 together with 2 trolleybus lines which were left. There are plans to construct a modern tram network.
The most dominant form of transportation is the Marshrutka. An elaborate marshrutka system has grown in Tbilisi over the recent years. In addition to the city, several lines also serve the surrounding countryside of Tbilisi. Throughout the city a fixed price is paid regardless of the distance (50 tetri in 2011). For longer trips outside the city, higher fares are common. There are no predefined stops for the marshrutka lines, they are hailed from the streets like taxis and each passenger can exit whenever he likes.

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