On September 10 the Moscow Central Circle (the MCC) celebrated its 5th anniversary. All these years it has been constantly developing, so that made it a real trendsetter in transport industry. In 5 years the MCC carried 633 million passengers.
«Five years have passed quite quickly, and all of us have realized that it’s hard to imagine Moscow without the MCC. At the start of the project preparation and the MCC launch, few people realized that it would be that popular. Right now, we continue to improve the Circle’s infrastructure. We build additional entrances in places where passenger traffic has increased and install escalators by extending the stairway where it is appropriate. We will continue the Moscow Central Circle integration into the Moscow Metro lines and into the Moscow Central Diameters. For several years, we have been analysing each station and ensuring that the work of each one gets better and the number of obstacles that are already appearing on the MCC are promptly removed and will be removed in the future», – noted Maksim Liksutov, the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport.
The MCC has become a flexible transport system which adapts to the megacity’s rhythm. For example, 582 thousand passengers per day was the record number on the MCC in December 2019. In some countries, new projects do not produce such rapid results. Let’s compare S-Bahn in Berlin, which is only after 20 years managed to reach the result of 500 thousand people. However, the population of the city is almost 4 times smaller than the population of Moscow (12.6 M people).
The MCC is integrated into the existing public transport scheme, thus creating seamless interchanges between metro, the MCD and suburban railways. The Troika card, which will become virtual soon, is valid for the MCC, as it is for all public transport modes in Moscow. Passengers can also pay with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Mir Pay and other payment options. This system is unique, as it selects the most advantageous fare, based on how often, in which zones and which transport a passenger uses. Only two European cities have this – Moscow and London. Now the Face Pay system is under development, and soon it will operate for the MCC, the MCD and surface transport.
The MCC is very important for the city as it develops the surrounding areas. Reconstructed and newly built stations make urban areas more noble and attractive for business centers and residential areas to be built. The MCC has improved transport accessibility for the 34 Moscow districts with over 3 million population, giving citizens the opportunity to create hundreds of alternative routes.
In five years, the MCC has been improved several times. The Lastochka trains, which were originally used in interregional routes, were launched on the MCC at the end of 2016. Nowadays, in the fleet there are 51 Lastochka trains with a modified urbanized interior. It got bigger because of the new combination which is two seats on each side. Railings and multimedia navigation have been installed in trains and special places have been created for low-mobility passengers and for bicycles. Trains are also equipped with a climate control system, that makes trips more comfortable in any season. In addition, headways were reduced from 6 minutes to 4 in peak hours and from 12 minutes to 8 in other times of the day. Thanks to such schedule, the artery’s transportation ability has increased by 36%. At further development of the Circle does not stop. The double-decker train – Stadler Kiss – has been operating during the two weeks on the MCC. The purpose of the test-drive was to check if it is possible to create additional passenger seats and unload the Circle.
Currently, an autonomous train, which in the future may operate on the MCC, is tested on the experimental circle in Scherbinka.
The Vostochny station was opened on May 29, 2021. It is a part of a large and unique hub which unites Cherkizovskaya station Sokolniki metro line, Locomotive station of the MCC and surface transport. The total area of the station is 9.600 sq. m, including a modern passenger terminal with an area of 4.200 sq. m. and two platforms with different height, which is 5,400 sq. m. Low platform is for Strizh trains, produced by a Spanish company «Talgo» and high one for Lastochka trains of Desiro model created by a German company Siemens. The purpose of the Vostochny station construction was to unload the busiest part of Moscow – Kurskaya-Kalanchevskaya.
In the upcoming years, the opening of the additional lobbies at 7 almost fully loaded stations of the MCC is planned. The integration of the MCC with the railway line, which runs from the Moscow Kievsky Railway Terminal, is planned to be accomplished in 2022 by connecting the two directions of the future MCD line (D4). It will also be integrated with prospective metro lines – Troitskaya Line 16 and Birulyovskaya.
The MCC was launched in 2016, its length is 54 km, there are 31 stations, and 26 metro interchanges are among them. Passenger traffic at the MCC and the MCD not only recovered from the pandemic but has also increased since 2019. In the first half of 2021, the MCC had 71 million passengers. A total of 242 pairs of Lastochka trains on weekdays and 211 pairs on weekends run on the MCC day. The capacity of the Lastochka train is 1.500 passengers. At peak hours an electric train runs every 4 minutes and at non-peak hours – every 8 minutes.