If you’ve spent any time in a car during rush hour in Panama City, it probably didn’t take long for you to wish there were a better way. Soon, to the relief of many daily commuters (and out-of-town visitors), there will be.
The city is hard at work on Central America’s first metro system. The first line will run north and south from Los Andes to Albrook Mall, taking some of the above-ground pressure off this heavily-traveled area. The 13.7-kilometer trip will have 13 stations, and will take approximately 23 minutes from terminal to terminal. In the first phase alone, Line 1 will be able to put 15,000 people into the trains–and off the roads–every hour, and President Martinelli was recently quoted in local newspaper Panama America as saying it would be ready in September of this year.
Of course, there’s bound to be a little pain before the payoff: the construction has made traffic in the city even trickier in places for the time being, but that will soon be forgotten when the metro stations open their doors.
Photo by Maria Antonia Vergara
Preliminary studies into the system began in 2009, and full completion of the project (with the cooperation of future government leaders, of course) is expected by 2035. By that time, four metro lines will be in place, running all the way into the eastern suburbs of Panama City.
In the interest of making the metro a safe, secure way to travel through the city, there are plans for a special police unit dedicated to the trains.
Panama is already home to world-class hotels and restaurants as well as numerous large companies. Its rapid economic growth is apparent all over the country. New housing developments continue to break ground in the city, on the beach, and in the mountains. The roads leading to these projects are being improved, and a new airport is being built in Rio Hato. The metro is just more evidence that Panama is about progress–a country serious about building a happy, well-functioning future.