Baku - Transport

Transport

Throughout history the transport system of Baku used the now-defunct horsecars, trams and narrow gauge railways. As of 2011, 1000 black cabs are ordered by Baku Taxi Company, and as part of a programme originally announced by the Transport Ministry of Azerbaijan, there is a plan to introduce London cabs into Baku. The move was part of £16 million agreement between Manganese Bronze and Baku Taxi Company.

Local transport includes the Baku Metro, a rapid-transit system notable for its art, murals, mosaics, and ornate chandeliers. Baku Metro was opened in November 1967 and includes 22 stations at present; 170 million people used Baku Metro over the past five years. In 2008, the Chief of the Baku Metro, Taghi Ahmadov, announced plans to construct 41 new stations over the next 17 years. These will serve the new bus complex as well as the international airport.

Plans are afoot to introduce a single Smart Card for payment on all types of city transport. The metro is now the only form of transport in Baku to use any type of card-based fare-payment system.

Baku's Central Railway Station is the terminus for national and international rail links to the city. The Kars–Tbilisi–Baku railway, which will directly connect Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan, began to be constructed in 2007 and is scheduled for completion by 2012. The completed branch will connect Baku with Tbilisi in Georgia, and from there trains will continue to Akhalkalaki, and Kars in Turkey.

Sea transport is vital for Baku, as the city is practically surrounded by the Caspian Sea to the east. Shipping services operate regularly from Baku across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenbashi (formerly Krasnovodsk) in Turkmenistan and to Bandar Anzali and Bandar Nowshar in Iran. The commuter ferries, along with the high-speed catamaran Seabus (Deniz Avtobusu), also form the main connection between the city and the Absheron peninsula.

The Baku Port was founded in 1902 and since then has been the largest Caspian Sea port. It has six facilities: the main cargo terminal, the container terminal, the ferry terminal, the oil terminal, the passenger terminal and the port fleet terminal. The port's throughput capacity reaches 15 million tons of liquid bulk and up to 10 million tons of dry cargoes. Beginning in 2010, the Baku International Sea Trade Port is being reconstructed. The construction will take in three stages and will be completed by 2016. The estimated costs are 400 Million US$. From April to November the Baku Port is accessible to ships loading cargoes for direct voyages from Western European and Mediterranean ports.

The State Road M-1 and the European route E60 are the two main motorway connections between Europe and Azerbaijan. The motorway network around Baku is well developed and is constantly being extended.

The Heydar Aliyev International Airport is the only commercial airport serving Baku. The new Baku Cargo Terminal was officially opened in March 2005. It was constructed to be a major cargo hub in the CIS countries and is actually now one of the biggest and most technically advanced in the region. There are also several smaller military airbases near Baku, such as Baku Kala Air Base, intended for private aircraft, helicopters and charters.

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