By Adem Demir and Hikmet Faruk Baser
Turkey's first driverless metro line in Istanbul was ranked as Europe’s biggest automated line, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality said on Wednesday citing a Brussel-based transport association.
The line was also named as the world's third and Europe's biggest automated line, the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) said in a report.
UITP analyzed driverless metro lines with more than 500 passengers capacity in a single trip, the municipality said.
“According to the figures of the UITP Observatory of Automated Metros, trains of Istanbul M5 have the highest capacity in Europe and the third highest capacity in the world,” the UITP report said.
World's third biggest driverless metro line in Istanbul follows two giant automated metro lines in Singapore -- the Circle MRT and the North East MRT lines, it added.
Istanbul's driverless Uskudar-Umraniye-Cekmekoy-Sancaktepe metro line -- with a passenger capacity of 1,620 people -- shot ahead of Rome (1,200 passenger capacity), Barcelona (895 passenger capacity) and Paris (722 passenger capacity) subways.
Positioned as Europe's top automated subway, Turkey's metro line left another 20 driverless metro lines behind.
The report revealed that out of 62 automated metros worldwide, only 22 have more than 500 passengers capacity in a single trip.
The first stage of Istanbul's driverless metro line was put into service in December 2017 and served over 25 million people so far, while the second stage of the subway was launched in October 2018, and served over 2.4 million passengers.
Founded in 1885, the UITP gathered Europe’s 50 main tramway operators in Brussels to create the association -- born with 63 member companies from nine countries.
The UITP, which regularly collects a wealth of data related to public transport and urban mobility, represents 1,500 member companies giving access to over 18,000 contacts from the fields of urban, local, regional and national mobility from more than 96 countries on all continents.
* Jeyhun Aliyev contributed to this story from Ankara