Ayacucho Tram Begins Operation, Metro de Medellin Discuss Further Expansion Plans
Metro de Medellin today put the new tram network into operation, as General Manager Claudia Restrepo explained plans for Metro de Medellin to continue expanding and innovating the region’s transport network, which now incorporates metro, cablecar, tram, buses, public bike rental, urban escalators and BRT systems, with monorail the latest technology to be discussed.
The 4.3km tram will move 90,000 passengers per day, benefiting 350,000 inhabitants of the Villa Hermosa, Buenos Aires and Candelaria neighborhoods.
Metro de Medellin General Manager, Claudia Restrepo, has confirmed that locals who have a registered Cívica card, the cities smart card transport payment system, will be able to travel for free until 30 November 2015.
The General Manager explained that the tram will also support local businesses along the route, with tourists visiting new areas and greater access stimulating development in the east of the city.
Claudia Restrepo also explained that as well as construction and operations, the organization has also been looking at how to integrate the system within the lives of users. She explained that an emphasis on Metro Culture has been important; informing locals of the benefits, ensuring they are able to use the network and working to minimize disruption downtown as the tram passes through busy areas.
The maximum speed of the system is 70km, but initial speeds will be limited to 40km to allow locals to adapt and ensure safety.
While this is a new and exciting innovation for many in the city, tram and rail innovation have played an important role in the history of the city. In 1887 mule lead trams provided transport in the narrow, cobbled streets of the young city. Thirty years later in 1921, the network was electrified and expanded to provide coverage all over the city and out as far as Rionegro. By 1951 the network covered 36km of roads, serving 120,000 users per day, but, despite the growth, buses and private cars forced down demand and the system closed shortly after its peak in popularity.
The system is now back in operation, and there are big plans for expansion once again in the city.
The 700,000 million pesos project is a part of the cities master plan to connect the East side of the city with existing transport infrastructure. The Metro Master Plan, includes 26 expansion projects, which will ultimately result in the development of a link between the Ayachucho tram and the Jose Maria Cordova Airport in Rionegro, currently a 50 minute taxi drive from downtown.
“The last Tram station, Oriente, was named as such because it is projected to create a connection via a tram or whatever solution is chosen, to connect the East Tunnel and provide a direct link to the airport. And with this, we can create a mobility corridor across the valley of the municipality in the east, with places such as Marinilla, Rionegro, La Ceja and the village of San Antonio de Pereira. It is hoped that with the completion of the tunnel the project will be feasible and enforceable in the medium term”, the Manager of Metro de Medellin explained.