Although it is months away from beginning operations, President Lenin Moreno and other government officials got a preview Monday of Quito’s new Metro subway. The train, which also carried some members of the general public, made a circuit in the downtown area, stopping at several stations.
Along with Cuenca’s Tranvia de los Cuatro Rios, the metro is Ecuador’s venture into modern mass transit. Once operational, the $2 billion system will operate 18 six car units along a 22 kilometer route with an initial fare of 45 cents. Officials say the system is 80 percent complete and will go into service sometime in 2020.
Accompanying Moreno on the test run were Mayor Mauricio Rodas and his wife and the president of the National Assembly, Elizabeth Cabezas.
“One of the main objectives of the system is to alleviate the traffic in central Quito, which is being overwhelmed with more than 500,000 vehicle trips a day.” The president said. “This will offer those who commute by car from the north and south a comfortable alternative for traveling downtown.”
He added that the system is designed to be easily accessible for people with disabilities like himself. “This opens opportunities for those who have previously had trouble getting around in Quito. I had no problem getting on the train today.”
During the subway ride, Moreno told Rodas that the government would deliver the $620 million promised to complete the project.
Rodas, who is not running for reelection in the upcoming election, said he would not be around for the inauguration of Metro service but expressed pride in his government’s role in building the project. “With most of the work complete, including all of the tunnels and stations, we are very pleased with what we have accomplished to make life better for the citizens of Quito.”
Rodas added: “We have played a part in making Quito and Ecuador a leader in transportation technology, making us a world-class destination.”
Both the Metro and Cuenca’s tram are first-of-their-kind electric train systems in South America.