The Minsk Metro (Belarusian: Мінскі метрапалітэн, Russian: Минский метрополитен) is a rapid-transit system that serves Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Opened in 1984, it presently consists of 2 lines and 29 stations, totaling 37.27 kilometres (23.16 mi). In 2013, the system carried 328.3 million passengers, which averages to a daily ridership of approximately 899,450.
During the 1950s–1970s the population of the city soared over a million and designs for a rapid transit system were initially put up during the late 1960s. Construction began on 3 May 1977, and the system was opened to the public on 30 June 1984, becoming the ninth metro system in the Soviet Union. The original eight station section has since expanded into a two-line 29 station network with 37.27 kilometres (23.16 mi) of route.
Despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union the construction of Minsk metro continued uninterrupted throughout the 1990s (as opposed to other ex-Soviet Metros like those of Yerevan and Samara, which were halted due to a complete lack of funding). Some experts attribute it to the slow reform of the Soviet planned economy in Belarus, which turned out to be beneficial for the metro expansion. Currently, station launch dates are ahead of original schedule. For example, the final phase of the Aŭtazavodskaja Line, originally planned for 2006, was opened in late 2005, and similarly the northern extension of the Maskoŭskaja Line, originally scheduled for 2008, opened on 7 November 2007. There were also 3 new stations opened on the southern end of the Maskoŭskaja line in November 2012.
The city is located on an almost level surface and on very dry soils. As a result, although all of the Minsk Metro stations are under the surface, there are no deep-level stations that are found in most of the ex-Soviet cities. Out of the current 29 stations 19 are pillar-spans and 10 are of vaulted type. Like most of the Soviet metro systems, all of the stations are vividly decorated. Some (notably, Niamiha) exhibit Belarusian national motifs, others focus on more Soviet socialist themes. Although recent years saw more priority on high-tech decorations.
At present, there are several projects, only one of which is under construction, the southwestern extension of the Maskoŭskaja line to the new residential districts in the south-west of the city. This project is fully complete, with 3 out of 4 stations opened November 2012, with Malinaŭka the final station, opened June 2014. The Maskoŭskaja and Aŭtazavodskaja lines can potentially receive an extension on both ends of each line.
However, the major project after 2013 will be a third line running from the south to the north-east of the city via the centre, creating two new transfer points with the existing lines. The construction of the third line was expected to start in 2011, delayed to late 2013, and the first stage of the line is expected to open in 2020. This would follow a northern contour parallel to Maskoŭskaja, and relieve the extensive congestion in the city area, and then extend south of the city.
A fourth line is not expected to be built before 2020. It is expected to connect south-eastern parts of the city with the north-western residential areas.
On 30 May 1999, a sudden thunderstorm caused a large crowd, from a nearby rock concert, to seek shelter at the Niamiha station. The limited size of the subways leading into the ticket hall and the wet pavement caused a human crush. Fifty-three people died.
The Kastryčnickaja station was the site of a terrorist bombing on 11 April 2011. Fifteen people were killed.