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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Metro Intends to Increase Fares

The Moscow metro, often called the capital's Underground Palace for its grandiose stations, celebrated its 65th anniversary Friday by announcing that several new stations would soon open and warning that fare hikes were looming.

Moscow metro head Dmitry Gayev said the metro's budget for this year called for a fare hike as of Jan. 1, but authorities had not yet gotten around to approving the increase, which is expected to push the price of a one-trip ticket up from 4 rubles to 5 rubles.

The delay in raising fares was leading to monthly losses of 90 million rubles (about $3.2 million) for the metro, he was quoted by Prime-Tass as saying.

He did not say when fares would be changed, although Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov had been expected to approve an increase May 10. In previous years, the metro has raisedfares without warning, catching early morning passengers off guard.

Metro officials also said Friday that they are about 85 percent finished with a plan to revamp the fare scheme into a European standard. The plan calls for the city to be broken up into zones, so the farther a passenger travels, the more he would pay for a ticket.

"We need to work out the details of setting up such a system, so far we have failed to do so," Gayev said. "Until then, such a system will not be implemented."

Sixty-four new stations are expected to be added to the existing 161 over the next 10 years, officials said.

Construction is wrapping up on an extension of the gray Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya line in southern Moscow and in August passengers will be able to travel from Prazhskaya to the new station Rossoshanskaya. The line will extend to Anino in 2001 and then to Severnoye Butovo and Dmitry Donskoi in 2003.

The light green Lyublinskaya line will stretch farther into the center. The dark blue Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya line will be extended westward from Kievskaya to Park Pobedy in 2002, and in 2003 a mini-line will open from Kievskaya to the planned business center Moscow City.

The idea to build a metro in Moscow was first born in 1901, but a lack of money and political upheaval kept the project from being realized until Josef Stalin got involved in the 1930s.

A first test train went into operation on Oct. 15, 1934, and the first 13 metro stations - covering the distance from Sokolniki to Gorky Park - opened to the public on May 15, 1935.

At 161 stations, the metro now has 524 kilometers of track and its 30,000 employees help transport more than 8 million passengers a day.

The exquisite metro stations, designed by prominent architects, artists and sculptors, were the pride of the Soviet Union and remain mouth-dropping masterpieces to this day. The Metro Museum estimates that natural stones, mainly different kinds of marble from across the country, cover three-fourths of the stations' walls and more than half of the floors.

Black marble in metro stations like Belorusskaya, Ploshchad Revolutsii and Aeroport, for example, was dug up in the Urals, Armenia and Georgia, white marble came from the Ural Mountains and the Caucasus, while coarse pink marble and velvet-pink marble were brought from Lake Baikal and the Far East, respectively.

Park Kultury and Alexandrovsky Sad were built with yellow and green-gray limestone transported from the Crimea.

Semiprecious stones from the regions were used to create elegant designs and artwork.

The quartz in Baumanskaya comes from Kareliya, and marble onyx from Armenia creates panels and stone plates at the Dinamo and Kievskaya stations.