|Transit type||Rapid transit|
|Number of lines||4 operational, 1 under construction, 1 planned|
|Number of stations||51 operational, 10 under construction, 11 planned|
|Daily ridership||600,000 (daily, 2011)
600,000 (weekday, 2010)
|Began operation||November 1979|
|System length||69.25 km (43.0 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
The Bucharest Metro (Romanian: Metroul București) is an underground urban railway network that serves the capital of Romania, Bucharest. The network is run by Metrorex. It is one of the most accessed systems of the Bucharest public transport network with a ridership of 177 million passengers in 2011 (averaging out at 600,000 passengers per day). In total, the network is 69.25 km long and has 51 stations.
|Transport in Romania|
The earliest plans for a Bucharest Metro were drafted in the late 1930s, alongside the general plans for urban modernization of the city. In 1938, the local authorities assigned the task of planning and constructing the subway system to S.A. Metropolitanul, with work scheduled to start in March 1941. The outbreak of World War II, followed by periods of political tensions culminating with the installation of communism, put an end to the plans.
By 1970, the public transport system (ITB) was no longer adequate due to the fast pace of urban development, although the system was the fourth-largest in Europe. A commission was set up, and its conclusion pointed to the necessity of an underground transit system that would become the Bucharest Metro.
The network was not built in the same style as other Eastern European systems. Firstly, the design of the stations on the initial lines was simple, clean-cut modern, without excessive additions such as mosaics, awkward lighting sources or excessive decoration. The main function of the stations was speed of transit and practicality. Secondly, the trainsets themselves were all constructed in Romania and did not follow the Eastern European style of construction. Each station usually followed a colour theme (generally white - in Unirii 2, Universitate, Victoriei 1, Politehnica, Lujerului; but also light blue - in Obor and Gara de Nord; orange - in Tineretului), and an open plan. No station was made to look exactly like any other. Despite this, many stations are rather dark, due to the policies of energy economy in the late 1980s, with later modernisations doing little to fix this problem. Bucharest being one of the largest cities in the region, the network is larger than those of Prague or Budapest. When the planned new line-extensions are finished, they will increase the system length to more than 100 km, with about 80 stations.
The first line, M1, opened on November 16, 1979, running from Timpuri Noi to Semănătoarea (now Petrache Poenaru). It was 6.2 km long with 6 stations. Following this, more lines were opened:
- December 1981: M1/M3 Timpuri Noi - Republica; 10.1 km, 6 stations
- August 1983: M3 Branch line Eroilor - Industriilor (now Preciziei) ; 8.63 km, 5 stations, Gorjului station added in 1991
- December 1984: M1 Semănătoarea (Petrache Poenaru) - Crângaşi; 0.97 km, 1 station
- January 1986: M2 Piaţa Unirii - Depoul IMGB (now Berceni) ; 9.96 km, 8 stations
- October 1987: M2 Piaţa Unirii - Pipera; 8.72 km, 6 stations
- December 1987: M1 Crângaşi - Gara de Nord 1; 2.83 km, 2 stations (Basarab added 1990)
- August 1989: M1 Gara de Nord 1 - Dristor 2; 7.8 km, 6 stations
- January 1990: M1/M3 Republica - Pantelimon; 1.43 km, 1 station (single track, operational on a special schedule)
- March 2000: M4 Gara de Nord 2 - 1 Mai; 3.6 km, 4 stations
- November 2008: M3 branch Nicolae Grigorescu 2 - Linia de centura (now Anghel Saligny), 4.75 km, 4 stations
- July 1, 2011: M4 Jiului - Parc Bazilescu, 2 stations
Large stations which connect with other lines (such as Victoriei) have two terminals, and each terminal goes by a different name (Victoriei 1 and Victoriei 2). On the official network map, they are shown as two stations with a connection in between, even though, in practice (and in trip planners), they are really only one station with platforms at different levels. There is one exception: Gara de Nord 1 and Gara de Nord 2 are separate stations (although linked through a subterranean passage, the traveller is required to exit the station proper and pay for a new fare at the other station, thus leaving the system), passengers being required to change trains at Basarab.
Generally, the underground stations feature large interiors. The largest one, Piata Unirii, is cathedral-like, with vast interior spaces, hosting retail outlets and fast-food restaurants and has an intricate network of underground corridors and passage ways.
Metrorex is the Romanian company which runs the Bucharest Metro. It is fully owned by the Romanian Government through the Ministry of Transportation. There were plans to merge the underground and overground transportation systems into one authority subordinated to the City of Bucharest, however these plans did not come to fruition.
Infrastructure and Network
As of 2010, the entire network runs underground, except for a short stretch between Dimitrie Leonida and Berceni stations on the southern end of M2 line. The network is served by four depots, 2 being located above ground (IMGB and Industriilor) and two underground (Ciurel and Pantelimon) and by additional smaller works at Gara de Nord and Eroilor stations.
There are two connections between the Metro network and the Romanian Railways network, one at IMGB (connecting to the Bucharest Belt Ring), the other at Ciurel (connecting via an underground passage to the Cotroceni-Militari industrial railway). The latter connection however is unused and mothballed. The metro network and the national rail network share the same gauge (1,435 mm) and loading gauge but not the same electrification system (the metro uses 750 V DC whereas the Romanian Railways use 25,000 V 50 Hz AC) making it possible for new metro cars to be transported cross country as unpowered railway cars.
The network is powered by a bottom-contact third rail system except in works, depots and some tunnels where a catenary system is employed. There are 4 metro lines in operations, 1 more being auctioned off and another 2 in the planning phase:
- M1 Line: between Dristor and Pantelimon - the first line to open (in 1979). It is circular with a North-Eastern spur. Part of its tracks are shared with M3 (7 stations).
- M2 Line: between Pipera and Berceni opened in 1986, completed in 1988; Runs in a North-South direction, crossing the center.
- M3 Line: between Preciziei and Anghel Saligny opened in 1989, completed in 2008; Runs in an East-West direction, south of the center. Shares part of its tracks with M1 (7 stations).
- M4 Line: between Gara de Nord and Parc Bazilescu opened in 2000, completed in 2011; Extension to Lac Străuleşti is planned to be opened in 2014.
- M5 Line: between Râul Doamnei and Pantelimon (construction began in 2011, to be entirely finished in 2018); M5 will have 19 stations and average at 18km long. The expected construction cost is 740 million euros. 
- M6 Line: between Gara de Nord and Henri Coandă International Airport (tenders for construction are expected in 2014);
- Two more stations are planned and may be constructed on existing lines, both on M1. However, given the complexity of work required, and the limited benefits these stations would have it is unlikely that construction will begin in the near future:
Metrorex is also planning the following new lines and routes:
- Line M7; it is supposed to run 25 km from Bragadiru to Voluntari.
- Line M8, the south half ring. Its route has not been fully planned yet, but will run through Piața Sudului and end at Crângași and Dristor stations.
The Bucharest Metro uses two types of trainsets:
- Astra IVA - 33 trains (198 modular cars), built in Arad between 1976 and 1992;
- Bombardier Movia 346 - 44 trainsets (264 cars), built between 2002 and 2008;
The Astra trains used on the system are made up of various trainsets (rame) connected together. Each trainset is made up of two permanently connected train-cars (B'B'-B'B' formation) that can only be run together. On lines M1 and M3, three trainsets (totaling six cars) are connected together, with a length of up to 120 meters, while in line M4, two trainsets run together (totaling four cars). M2 only uses Bombardier Trains. The ASTRA Arad rolling stock was built between 1976 and 1992, and is approaching the end of its service life, so it is currently being either refurbished or phased out.
The Bombardier trains are made up of six permanently connected cars, forming an open corridor for the entire length of the train (2'2'+Bo'Bo'+Bo'Bo'+Bo'Bo'+Bo'Bo'+2'2' formation).
The subway livery for Bucharest is either white with two yellow or red horizontal stripes below the window for ASTRA trains, or stainless steel with black and white for the Bombardier trains. All trains run on a 750 V DC third rail, or an overhead wire (in maintenance areas where a third rail would not be safe). Maximum speed on the system is 80 km/h (50 mph), although plans are to increase it to 100 km/h (60 mph) on M5, a new line is currently under construction.
In September 2011, it was announced that the Spanish CAF had won a contract to deliver new trains to Metrorex. On November 29, 2011, Metrorex signed a €97 million contract with CAF for 16 metro trains (96 cars), with options for a further eight sets (48 cars). The contract represents CAF's first rolling stock order in Romania.
The 114m-long six-car trains will be assembled in Romania, will each accommodate up to 1,200 passengers and will be formed of four powered and two trailer vehicles.
There are multiple signalling systems used. Line 2, the first one that has been modernized, uses Bombardier's Automatic Train Control system. It ensures the protection (Automatic Train Protection) and operation (Automatic Train Operation) of the new Bombardier Movia trains.
The system uses an IPU (Interlocking processing unit), TI21-M track circuits and EbiScreen workstations. Signals have been kept only in areas where points are present, but only use a white light, meaning that the route has been assigned and the driver can use cab signalling. Trains are usually operated automatically, with the driver only opening and closing the doors and supervising the operation. Other features include auto turnback and a balise system, called PSM (precision stop marker). This ensures that the train can stop at the platform automatically.
On lines 1 and 3, where IVA trains are still in service, the ATC system has been merged with the Indusi system. Signals are present in point areas and platform ends. Along with the three red-yellow-green lights, the white ATP light has been added. Optical routes can be assigned, meaning that a train gets a green light (permission to pass the signal) only after the next signal has been passed by the train ahead, or a yellow light, meaning that the signal can be passed at low speed. Automatic Block signals have been removed.
Line 4 uses ATC Dimetronic, and Line 5 is expected to use the same system.
Public transport in Bucharest is heavily subsidized, and the subsidies will increase, as the City Council wants to reduce traffic jams, pollution and parking problems and promote public transport. Like the RATB, the metro can get crowded during morning and evening rush hours. The network uses a dual system, employing both magnetic stripe cards, that are not valid for use on trams, buses or trolleys and a newer system with RFID contactless cards that are also valid on the RATB ground network.
From July 2006, the public transport in Bucharest was to be coordinated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority - however, this was postponed indefinitely. The ticketing systems for ground and subway transportation are currently being unified, with a new RFID card system being deployed across the network, with the old cards slated to be discontinued.
The newer RFID card system is managed by RATB and RFID cards can only be obtained from RATB kiosks. The system is called Card ACTIV. RFID cards are given away free of charge, but only if one agrees to have one's personal data (name and personal numeric code) imprinted on the card. Along with the personal data, as one uses the transport system, cost and usage data is collected in a centralised database. RATB claims this data is used only for improving the transport system. Only the person with the name imprinted on the card may use that card if used in combination with a monthly pass. If the card is lost, the lost card can be canceled and the traveler, for a small fee, can obtain a new card with the remaining credit on it. Anonymous RFID cards can also be obtained for a small fee and they can be used by multiple travelers.
One must purchase a pass or credit to actually use the Card ACTIV on the underground or ground network. Also, these newer cards currently support for the metro network only monthly passes and a form of payment by trip, where travelers can buy credit (at RATB kiosks and online). The full cost of a trip - 2 RON (€ 0.47) is then deducted from the card whenever entering the metro network, regardless of the number of times a traveler enters the metro network in a given time interval. Because of this limitation, the 10 trip older-style metro card (see below) remains the most cost-effective solution for the casual traveler.
The RFID cards can also be recharged online at the RATB Online website. At the website, a user can recharge the card's electronic wallet with an arbitrary amount of money, in increments of 1 RON or extend the existing monthly passes, for both underground and surface transport.
Magnetic stripe cards
Older style metro cards can be purchased at any metro station, except discounted passes, which can only be purchased at a limited number of stations. Prices (as of August 2012):
- 2-trip card - 4 RON (€ 0.89)
- 1-day card - 6 RON (€ 1.33)
- 10-trip card - 15 RON (€ 3.34)
- Unlimited monthly pass (full price) - 60 RON (€ 13.37)
- Unlimited student monthly pass (available for students in Romanian universities) - 30 RON (€ 6.68)
- 62-trip monthly pass - 50 RON (€ 11.14)
- 62-trip student monthly pass (available for students in Romanian universities) - 25 RON (€ 5.57)
- Free for senior citizens over 70 years of age
Older-style metro cards are not linked with personal data or usage data in a central database and thus they guarantee anonymity of the travel. Because of that, however, if a metro card is lost or damaged, the traveler cannot be reimbursed for the unused trips.
Hours of operation
Trains run from 5 AM to 11 PM, every day. The last trains on M1, M2 and M3 wait for the transfer of the passengers between lines to complete, before leaving Piața Unirii station. At rush hour, trains run at 6-7 minute intervals on lines 1, 3 and 4, and at 3-5 minute intervals on line 2. During the rest of the day, they run at 8 minute intervals on lines 1 and 3, 9 minute intervals on line 2 and 10 minute intervals on line 4.
- Network map
- "Aproape 500.000 de oameni merg zilnic cu metroul din Bucureşti" (Romanian)
- "Metroul Piata Universitatii-Drumul Taberei, cu un pas mai aproape de finalizare" (Romanian)
- [http://www.metrorex.ro/network_features_p66-2 Metrorex Network Features]
- "Railway Gazette: Bucuresti metro expansion tendering". Retrieved 2011-02-27.
- Adevărul : Metrorex's Web Project changes the map of Bucharest
- Network features
- CAF wins Bucharest metro order
- Contracts exceeding EUR 100 Million assigned by Bucharest underground operator
- (Romanian) RATB Online website
- (Romanian) Prices, at the Metrorex official site
- Operating Schedule at the Metrorex official site
- Network Information at the Metrorex official site
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Bucharest Metro|
- (Romanian) Official Metrorex site
- (Romanian) Interactive subway map
- (Russian) Bucharest Metro Track Map
- Bucharest Metro Challenge
- Bucharest Subway info
- Bucharest Subway's Unofficial Website
- Bucharest Metro, practical map
- Map of future lines
- UrbanRail Europe/Bucharest