Apr 7, 2014

First Central American Light Rail System Opened in Panama City April 5th.


Panama City's light rail system was officially opened on April 5th, and President Martinelli took a ride on Line 1 yesterday, Sunday April 6th at noon. (Above photos courtesy of Telemetro and TVN-2).  Since then, thousands have boarded the trains and report great satisfaction with the speed and convenience over the typical traffic gridlocks that have plagued Panama City for nearly a decade.  The current line will operate from 5 am until 10 pm each day, and today was the first business day the line has been in use. 

According to the Metro publicity releases, there will be 19 trains in all, with three wagons each, that will move some 15,000 people during peak hours beginning on April 18th when the full operation is scheduled to be in effect.  There is still some public confusion regarding the procurement and use of fare tickets, etc. but it's announced there are people assigned to the various stations to assist with these issues.   Currently there are no fees for the use of the Metro, but reports keep mentioning that fares will run less than $1.00 per person.  At the present time no charges have been levied to ride the Metro, and this allegedly will remain in effect until the end of President Martinelli's term in office, which is June 30th.  

Current polls show the President's party, Cambio Democratico, is the leading party with Jose Domingo Arias as it's Presidential candidate.  Martha Linares de Martinelli, the current First Lady, is his running mate.