The History of Transport in Iran
Connecting the Far East and the West and traversed by the Silk Road, Iran has always been an important commercial and political location. Therefore, Iran has been an advanced country in terms of transport historically. Chapar-Khaneh, for instance, was an efficient postal system, created and developed by Iranian during the Achaemenid era (2500 years ago). Chapar-Khane was the name given to several stations which were located along important roads of Iran. Each Chapar-Khaneh had several horses and a significant amount of supplies which were given to the postmen traveling along the road. Thanks to this service, the postmen no longer had to waste a lot of time supplying their food and waiting for their horses to rest.
Transport in Modern Iran
Due to the critical location of Iran, its climate conditions, and its large population, transportation is, without doubt, a matter of vital importance. Hence, Iran profits from a variety of transport systems which can be categorized into three different modes of transport: water, air, and land transport. In what follows, we will take a look at these different modes of transport and outline their conditions in Iran.
This major mode of transport comprises two different systems: road and railroad.
Iran is a vast country with a large population. Therefore, it needs a perfect widespread road system network. With more than 170,000 kilometers of roads, this road system links almost every city, town, and village inside Iran.
Buses are everywhere in Iran, and one can get to any city or village by them. There are many bus companies, offering their services in every city. Their offices are accessible in intercity terminals, and people can buy tickets there. Their availability and affordability makes them an excellent choice for most of the people. Minibuses are also common in Iran, but they are mainly used for close distances and in smaller cities and towns; usually they have lower prices, but they are not really comfortable for long-distance travels.
About 11,000 kilometers of railroad track connects most parts of Iran. Many cities are accessible via trains. Trains are safe, comfortable, and relatively affordable. They are a perfect choice for long-distance travels. However, they may not be as fast as other systems. There are several train companies in Iran (Raja is the principal one), all of which offer well-run services.
Many nearby countries (including Iraq, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, China, and several other Asian and European countries) are also connected to Iran via the railroad system.
In Iran, city buses, taxis, and metro are different forms of public transport inside the cities. Buses and taxis are available in every city, but only large cities have metro.
Each city has several bus stations (there are many of them in large cities). Their fares are very cheap, and they are very easy to use; you just have to know which line to choose and the name of a station; you can ask locals if you need.
While you have to buy bus tickets or cards in some large cities, in many cities the fare is given to the driver in cash.
Note: a very important thing to notice is that in almost every city bus in Iran, men and women are segregated, and they have to sit in different sections in a bus.
Taxis are the easiest way of transport. By taxis, people can get to everywhere in a city, with a relatively cheap fare. Most of the times, they are very easy to find; they are quite noticeable by their special color (most of them are yellow, some are green).
‘Snap’ is also a new way to find private taxis. It works exactly like Uber; you just need to download Snap application, and you can easily get a ride.
In large cities like Tehran, metro is a comfortable and easy way of transport. In Iran, several cities utilize this system (Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Tabriz). In Tehran, you can find different metro statins by a special symbol dedicated to metro.
Iran has access to three major seas: the Caspian Sea to the north, and the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea to the south of the country. There are several ports leading to each sea. There is also a navigable river named Karun.
The long coastline and numerous ports of Iran provide a great potential for water transportation in Iran. However, the waters are mostly used by oil tankers and merchant vessels for commercial transport. The ferries are used to transfer passengers mostly between the nearby islands and the mainland.
Some ferry ports:
- The Caspian Sea: Bandar-e Anzali, Bandar-Noshahr
- The Persian Gulf: Bandar Abbas, Bandar-e Lengeh, Bandar-e Emam Khomeini
- The Oman Sea: Chabahar
With more than 300 airports, Iran has a remarkable aerial transport. There is at least one local airport in each province, and many big cities possess also an international airport. Aerial transport is the fastest and the most efficient means of transport, and one can get to anywhere in Iran using Iranian Airports. Nonetheless, it is quite expensive compared with other transport systems.
There are many airlines in Iran. The most important one is Iran Air which is a governmental airline. Some other private airlines like: Aseman Air, Mahan Air, Caspian Air, etc.
Some International airports of Iran:
- Emam Khomeini Airport, Tehran
- Shahid Dastgheib Airport, Shiraz
- Shahid Beheshti Airport, Esfahan
- Shahid Hashemi Nejad Airport, Mashhad
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