While other major cities in Latin America operate more or less impressive subways or other public mass transportation systems, Lima with its chaotic privately owned "bus system" stood apart for many years. But since 2012, Peru's capital finally has a Metro. For 2 1/2 years it only was half a route, but since July 2014 the complete route linking northern with southern Lima is ready.
While other major cities in Latin America operate more or less impressive subways or other public mass transportation systems, Lima with its chaotic privately owned "bus system" stood apart for many years. But since 2012 Peru's capital finally has a Metro. For 2 1/2 years it only was half a route, but since the 26th of July 2014 the complete route with 26 stations linking northern with southern Lima is ready; so a beginning is made.
After more than 25 years Lima finally has its Metro ....
Already in the 1980s during the first presidency of Alan Garcia Lima's Metro was planned and the first route started to build. The Urban Train was supposed to link Lima's southern districts with the city center using high speed trains that run on overpasses. But due to the economic collapse of the country, works were paralyzed with only 9.2 km and seven stations finished. The project lay idle for years.
With Alan Garcia returning to power for a second term still supporting the idea of a Metro for Lima, in 2010 works on the Tren Electrico finally restarted. Line 1 (green), connecting in the first phase Villa El Salvador, San Juan de Miraflores, Surco, San Borja and La Victoria with the city center, was officially inaugurated in July 2011 by outgoing President Alan Garcia, but operations only started in January 2012. The second part of the route linking the city center via El Agustino with San Juan de Lurigancho started operation at the end of July 2014.
Line 1 operates above ground, mainly on elevated tracks supposed to withstand a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Being used to travelling through Lima's congested streets by car, taxi or micro, riding the new electric train feels like paradise: the stations are modern, the staff is helpful, trains not only operate on a schedule but are as well on time (for Lima standards that's exceptional) and a trip that before took an hour or more with a bus or taxi now can be made in less than 30 minutes. Only small setback trains can be really packed, especially during rush hour.
How to use Lima's Metro
Using Lima's Metro is really simple. It starts (or ends) in Villa El Salvador and runs along Av. Separadora Industrial, Av. La Union, Av. Pachacutec, Av. Los Heroes, Av. Tomas Marsano, Av. Aviacion to Av. Grau in the city center. From there on, Lima's Metro continues on Av. Locumba and Av. Proceres de la Independencia to San Juan de Lurigancho. All stations along the route from Villa El Salvador to the center and further on to San Juan de Lurigancho here. Trains operate from 06.00 am to 10.00 pm and arrive every 6 to 10 minutes. You pay for your ride with a rechargeable electronic card. The so called "tarjeta" can be purchased for S/. 5 (make sure you have an ID on you) and recharged at every station. At the moment the ticket price is S/. 1.50 for adults no matter how many stations you go. Students pay half, but need to apply for a "Tarjeta Medio Pasaje" with an ID and student card (including a copy of both!) to enjoy the lower price.
After completion of the Line 1, Lima is continuing with expanding the system. At the moment the whole project comprises 4 additional routes that one day should link Ate with Callao (Line 2, yellow), Surco with Comas (Line 3, blue), La Molina with the International Airport Jorge Chavez in Callao (Line 4, red) and Chorrillos with Miraflores (Line 5, pink). Part of the network should run on overpasses, another part on street level and another one even underground. As in Lima and Peru, they involve too many people with too many interests, often plans are thrown into disarray or substantially changed regularly. So when and if the project is completed as planned is uncertain.
There is reason for hope: in March 2014 the concession for building the Line 2 from Ate to Callao was already granted to a consortium that already built the Line 1. The tracks will mainly run underground and are built in three stages to avoid a collapse of Lima's traffic. During the last stage a first part of the Line 4, the connection from Line 2 to Lima's airport, is planned to be built simultaneously.