ASTANA – Two new subway stations opened in Almaty on April 18, and President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev was among the first to take a ride.
The new Moscow and Sairan stations, which are consecutive and today are the end of the metro’s red line, will connect the city centre with residential neighbourhoods. The new stations have extended the subway’s length to 11 kilometres. Almaty’s subway is used by more than 24,000 people daily, and more than 6.5 million people used the system last year, earning the city more than 1 billion tenge (US$5.38 million), the Kazakh TV reported, citing transport workers. The new stations are expected to double passenger flow.
The Moscow station, 11 metres below Almaty’s famous Abai Avenue, between Otegen Batyr Street and Altynsarin Avenue, is predominantly red and has photos of Red Square and the Kremlin. Moscow’s metro system has an Alma-Alta station.
As part of the official opening ceremony of the stations, Nazarbayev and Akim (Mayor) of Almaty Akmetzhan Yessimov rode from one new station to the other, getting off at Moscow Station to meet subway construction workers. During the ceremony, Nazarbayev commented on the subway’s significance for Almaty, saying it is important for alleviating traffic and improving the environment in the growing city.
“Almaty is the only city in Kazakhstan that has a metro,” the President said at the opening. “Thanks to its construction, 1,350 new jobs opened. In the first place, going by metro saves time; secondly, it improves the ecology of the city, whose population is now 1.5 million.”
He also commented that, had Almaty remained Kazakhstan’s capital, it would be overcrowded with cars and too polluted.
The Astana Akimat press office reports that the city’s metro will continue to be extended along Abai Avenue, with the Saryarka and Dostyk stations scheduled to be the next to open. Almaty’s subway opened on December 1, 2011 with seven stations.