Innovations Flourish in the Post-Pandemic Period

Innovations Flourish in the Post-Pandemic Period

12 JANUARY / 2024 / 13:23

In 2023, the Baku Metro operated in a post-pandemic environment for the first time without major restrictions, focusing on ensuring the safety of passenger transportation as a primary function of the transit service.

**First Autumn-Winter Schedule in the Post-Pandemic Period:**  
For this purpose, peak hours were defined from 07:00 to 10:00 and 17:30 to 19:30 on workdays. During these hours, the interval between trains in the "28 May-Hazi Aslanov" section was reduced to the technically feasible minimum of 2 minutes. For the first time in 2023, additional trains from the "Narimanov" electric depot were introduced during peak hours, some traveling without passengers to "28 May" station before continuing with passengers to "Darnagul" station. During peak hours, trains were turned back from "Memar Ajami" and "Neftchiler" stations on shorter routes to manage passenger flow at the busiest stations. Other measures included controlling and regulating passenger flow at platforms, escalator areas, vestibules, and entrances to prevent overcrowding.

**Support from the Ministry of Digital Development and Transport:**  
With the ministry's support, additional inspection devices were installed at two stations, "Narimanov" and "Ganjlik," enhancing the capacity of station exits and thus, passenger satisfaction.

**Technological Innovations at Stations:**  
One of the most significant technological innovations was the implementation of a new master key system, allowing all doors and padlocks within a station to be opened with a single key. This system, enhancing security and operational efficiency, facilitated the creation of a unified network of 4,555 keys across 27 stations based on a hierarchical principle.

**Introduction of a New Payment System:**  
2023 saw the introduction of one of the most significant innovations in the metro's history regarding fare payment. Alongside "BakiKart" plastic cards, the introduction of QR ticket payment has advanced the development of cashless and electronic payment systems. Initially implemented at the "Xocasen" and "8 November" stations of the Purple Line in September, the system was activated at all station turnstiles by December 30. Passengers can download the "BakiKart" mobile app and transfer funds from any bank card, offering advantages such as cardless transactions, time savings, and the ability to track payment history for better budgeting for public transport expenses.

**Increase in Passenger Numbers:**  
There has been an observed increase in passenger transportation compared to previous periods. In the reporting year, the Baku Metro transported 219,452,134 passengers, with 6,248,588 of them (2.85%) being transported under concessional terms. On average, 601,239 passengers were served daily, with a record 867,674 passengers transported on November 24, marking the second highest daily ridership in the metro's history.

**Accessible Metro Project:**  
The "Accessible Metro" project also saw an increase in passenger numbers in 2023, setting a record with 918 passengers served. Only seven passengers canceled their orders, compared to 689 passengers who used the "Accessible Metro" project in 2022. Training and trials based on the nature of the work were provided for the staff accompanying passengers, and monitoring led to the acquisition of two new devices from Russia, meeting international certification standards and designed for escalator use, offering improved mobility and safety compared to other models.

**Operational Changes:**  
Throughout the year, the metro's operational hours were extended several times, including for international games involving "Qarabag" and the Azerbaijan national football team. Additionally, in response to a request from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the metro started operations 2 hours earlier at 04:00 for a football game in Xankandi in December. Although the metro announced an extension of operational hours until 01:00 on the night of December 31 to January 1 for both 2022 and 2023, services were extended until 02:00 to accommodate city tours and mass cultural events.

This overview highlights the Baku Metro's adaptation and innovation in the post-pandemic period, enhancing service quality and passenger experience through technological advancements and operational flexibility.