Bucharest’s metro was extended today by a whopping – wait for it – 2.1 kilometres after two new stations, Laminorului and Lac Straulesti, were opened on the M4 line this morning. They are the first new stations on the system to open since Jiului and Parc Bazilescu (also on the M4 line) in 2011.
Those poor bastards amongst you who have been reading Bucharest Life since 2009 might remember that Laminorului hit the headlines way back then when Metrorex, which operates the metro, decided to change its name from the original Laromet. It was perhaps the first and only time in history that a metro station which did not yet exist has had its name changed. It also gives you an idea just how overdue these two new stations are: the best part of a decade.
Meantime, a new Bucharest Metro Challenge record now needs to be set. Oh, and given its track record, Metrorex will probably not be updating its own metro map any time soon. You can download a large version of ours here.
As for other potential extensions to the Bucharest metro, do not hold your breath. The badly-needed M5 line from Eroilor to Raul Doamnei via Drumul Taberei – on which work began in 2011 and should have been completed in 2014 – does not look like opening any time soon: indeed, Metrorex confirmed in January that it would not be opening this year.
As for the line to the airport… forget about it. Far more likely to happen is the overground line from Gara de Nord to Otopeni, although since the new government took over in January even that modest project appears to have been shelved.
PS If anyone is wondering why
The Wicked Witch of Voluntari Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea was not at the ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning, it is because Metrorex is run by the Ministry of Transport. Unlike RATB (which runs surface-level transport in the city), Bucharest City Council has absolutely nothing to do with Metrorex, pays no subsidy and does not contribute in any way to the upkeep or construction of the metro. We would also add that while we have in the past expressed the wish to see the council take control of the metro, that was before Firea took office. Given that everything she touches turns to shit, the metro is best left out of her hands.
PPS On Wednesday the (quite literally) violent city council voted to approve Firea’s fiendish plan to set up 19 companies to control just about everything that moves in Bucharest, including taxis. Vice appear to think Uber’s days in the Romanian capital are numbered. We hope not. Still, there’s always those lovely Estonians at Taxify…