JUNE 6 saw the start of revenue services on the 17·7 km Tren Urbano metro line in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which links the western suburbs of Bayamon and Guaynabo with Santurce, serving 16 stations.
Construction began in 1996, and the line was scheduled to open on July 1 2001. Repeated delays contributed to an increase in the cost from US$1·38bn to US$2·25bn, and led to a legal dispute between the Siemens-led construction consortium and the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation.
Tren Urbano has been running a limited free service for nearly six months, with around 40000 daily riders at the end of May, but traffic halved when collection of the $1·50 flat fare began. The Puerto Rican government hopes the line will be carrying 80000 weekday passengers by the end of this year, rising to 115000 in five years.
Planning has already started for Phase 2, to serve the eastern suburb of Carolina. n