Serkan Alan/ DUVAR
The Ankara Municipality is working on securing loans in order to fund the construction of a new metro line in the capital, said Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş in a municipal conference on Tuesday.
The line is planned to run six stops from the central Dikimevi station to the east, ending at the Nata Vega shopping mall in the district of Mamak. The municipality also announced that it is continuing work on the new stops that will be added to the Ankaray line (a separate light-rail network), as well as efforts to connect Ankaray, which begins at the AŞTİ main bus system, to the metro line that heads west.
The Ankaray, which currently runs for 8 kilometers, was opened in 1996 and has the capacity to transport 25,000 people an hour but currently is only able to transport 8-9000 people an hour, said urban planner Erhan Öncü, adding that if the additions are made to the line, it will become more useful and increase its current capacity.
Öncü said that these improvements needed to be made much sooner, adding that former ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayor Melih Gökçek–a controversial figure who presided over the city for two decades before being forced out of office by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2017—tried to present a new transit plan that was previously rejected by the city’s municipal council to the Ministry of Transportation, which also denied Gökçek’s plan. The ministry reportedly told Gökçek to continue with existing plans that were already in place and that they would talk about new ideas five years laters.
“Transport-oriented operations in Ankara needed to be reorganized. In particular, new stock on the rail system and new vehicles need to be purchased. The licenses need to be amended in accordance with this. The system is still functioning based on Gökçek’s amendments. Gökçek’s system was one based more on public companies, buses and minibuses rather than rail systems,” Öncü told.