Caracas, November 7, 2006 (Venezuelanalysis.com)— Venezuela's President Chavez inaugurated the Los Teques Metro line last Friday. Los Teques is located in the hills to the Southwest of Caracas, and the new line covers the 9.5 km route in 15 minutes, averaging approximately 42 km per hour. The metro line is free to passengers until the New Year, when the price of the trip is expected to cost just over 2,000 BS or $1 per trip.
The Metro line, which runs from Las Adjuntas Metro station to the new El Tambor station in the Capital of Miranda state, Los Teques, is currently running on a reduced schedule during peak transit times only, with hours between 5-9am and 5-11pm. During the off hours, transit workers are maintaining the tracks and constructing a second line which will run parallel and allow two trains to run simultaneously.
According to the state-run Bolivarian News Agency (ABN), the new metro line will transport 15,000 people a day until the finalization of construction of the second track in the end of 2007, when it will to transport 60,000 passengers per day.
Each new Metro train was constructed in France and is four cars long, each with an average capacity of approximately 200 people per car or 800 passengers per train. The wait time is approximately a half hour, as passengers must wait for the train to climb up to Los Teques and return to Las Adjuntas.
According to ABN, more than 5,000 direct and indirect jobs have resulted from the construction of the Metro line.
According to local TV network Globovision, The Metro line opened for its first workweek day today at 5:15am without presenting any problems and with approximately 500 people waiting to climb aboard.
Yelitza Villarrael is a mother of one, who lives near Las Adjuntas and has family in Los Teques. She boarded the new metro line for the first time on Sunday evening, when the train arrived to a boisterous applause from the awaiting passengers.
Villarrael, among others, commented on Sunday, that she is “very pleased” with the new Metro line, which she believes is “much safer” and quicker than the highway.
“There’s a lot of traffic on the road,” said Villarrael “A lot of trucks use the [Pan-American] highway, and when there is an accident, wow!”
Villarrael, who travels to Los Teques at least once every two months, verified that it usually takes about a half an hour to make the trip in bus, but it has, at times, taken her up to three hours to travel the windy mountain road.
“Once, on New Year’s eve, there was an accident. I left my house at 8pm and didn’t get to Los Teques till 11pm,” said Villarrael, “It would have been quicker to walk.”
En route from Las Adjuntas to El Tambor, the train travels over 4 bridges and through 6 tunnels of which one, El Carrizalito , according to the news agency ABN , is “considered by project engineers to be the largest in Latin America.”
The extension of the Caracas metro to El Tambor station is just the first of various additions to the Los Teques line, which are scheduled to be completed by 2010, and will cover over 11 km and 5 new stations. According to ABN, this first section has cost almost $850 million. According to El Universal, the cost of the next additions to the Los Teques Metro line is estimated to be just under $1.3 billion. On Friday, Chavez designated the first $120 million towards the project.