Moscow has once again made history with the opening of the Big Circle Line (BCL), which is now officially the longest subway ring in the world. The BCL was inaugurated on March 1, 2023, by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin. The completion of the BCL marks the biggest change to public transportation in the city in 70 years.
The BCL is a significant modernization and expansion of the Moscow subway system, which integrates all existing and prospective radial lines of the subway and provides interchanges to other modes of transport. The construction of the line took place in record time, with the first section opened in 2018. The line’s total length is 70 kilometers, with 31 stations and 3 depots. The BCL extends through 34 districts of the city, which are home to 3.3 million people, or 30% of Moscow’s population. The line’s completion means that 1.2 million Muscovites now have a metro station within walking distance.
During a press tour for the Big Circle Line, we had the opportunity to visit several new metro stations. The official night event kicked off at the Nagatinsky Zaton metro station, where Egor Kovalyov, the senior specialist of the Moscow Transport Career Centre, gave us a tour of different metro stations, including Rizhkaya, Sokolniki, among other new metro stations. Each station we visited was adorned with beautiful artwork, showcasing the city’s culture and history.
Maria Khilchenko, the head of the Moscow Metro External Relations-Department, was also present during the press tour and happily answered questions from the international press.
The BCL project has brought the metro to new areas of the city, and passengers can now take more convenient routes that do not require them to travel through the city center. The new circular route is expected to reduce congestion on other metro lines by up to 25% and cut road traffic in Moscow by up to 15%. The BCL project has taken into account the likely future development of the city over the coming decades and has a large margin of capacity, according to the Moscow city government.
Moreover, the BCL has already produced an increase in property prices of 15% to 20% in areas close to the new BCL stations, according to Moscow Metro. The new line has created 6,000 new job vacancies at Moscow Metro itself and is expected in the next few years to create up to 150,000 further jobs in areas served by the new BCL stations.
The high-tech services of the Moscow Metro are available to the passengers of the Line, including the most convenient ways to pay. All ticket gates on the BCL accept contactless payment by bank card, and two gates in each ticket hall are equipped with Moscow Metro’s biometric fare payment system. The BCL rolling stock fleet includes the Moscow Metro’s most recent type, the Moskva-2020 train that features wide doors and gangways, USB ports between seats, and an air-conditioning and disinfection system. The new trains are also equipped with a passenger information system that features line diagram displays above the doors and interactive route planners. Passenger comfort is enhanced through improved sound insulation and adaptive lighting, which changes intensity according to the time of day.
The Big Circle Line is a significant development for the Moscow subway system and the city as a whole. The completion of the BCL marks a new era for public transportation in the city, providing convenience and comfort to millions of commuters and tourists.