The Tbilisi Metro (თბილისის მეტროპოლიტენი, Tbilisis Metropoliteni; in the Soviet times also Тбилисское Метро) is a rapid transit Metro system in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Opened in 1966 it became the fourth Metro system in the former Soviet Union. Like most ex-Soviet Metros, most of the stations are very deep and vividly decorated.
|1||Akhmeteli-Varketili Line||1966||19.6 km||16|
|2||Saburtalo Line||1979||6.8 km||6|
In 2005 it was estimated that a total of 105.6 million people used the Metro annually. Carrying them are a fleet of 186 metro cars from two depots. Although the platforms are accommodated for five-carriage trains currently four and three carriage trains are used on lines 1 and 2 respectively. The car models are identical to those of other ex-Soviet Metros. The cost per token is 40 tetris, and remains valid for the whole duration. Trains run from 6:00 a.m. till 1:00 a.m. with intervals ranging between 4 minutes and 2.5 during peak times. Trains run between 60 km/h - 90 km/h.
Construction began in 1952, and on 11 January, 1966, the Tbilisi Metro was triumphantly opened becoming the first and only Metro system in Georgia and the fourth one in the former Soviet Union (after Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Kiev), when the first six stations were opened. Since then the system has steadily grown to a two line 22 station network.
During the 1990s, most of the Soviet-era station names were changed, although the financial difficulties since the breakup of the Soviet Union hit the Metro particularly hard in its infrastructure, operations and extensions. Until recently, the Metro had been underfund and operated in severe difficulties due to poor electrical supply. It had also become infamous for widespread petty crime, like pickpocketing and mugging. In addition, there have been several incidents at metro stations in recent years. On October 9, 1997, a former policeman blew himself up at Didube station. On February 14, 2000, a teenager threw a homemade hand grenade into a metro station, injuring several people. In March 2004, several people were poisoned by an unidentified gas while using the Metro.
However, the crime has reduced as a result of security and administration reforms in the system from 2004 to 2005. Other services have also significantly improved.
Currently, the Tbilisi Metro system is undergoing a major rehabilitation process including the reconstruction of the stations as well as modernization of trains and other facilities. The city's 2006 budget allocated 16 million lari for this project. President of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, promised to make the Metro most prestigious public transport and charged Director General of Tbilisi Metro, Zurab Kikalishvili, in late 2005, to bring the metro to European standards by 2007