Dominicans Fascinated by Santo Domingo’s Subway
By Dialogo March 10, 2009Santo Domingo, Mar 10 (EFE) – The subway in Santo Domingo, which was inaugurated about a month ago, fascinates the Dominicans. Entire families travel to distant locations just for a fun ride and a picture or a video to document having set foot in one of its stations.
A total of 1,895,000 people used the subway service during its first month of operation, according to data from the President of the country, Leonel Fernández, who pointed out the users’ “exemplary” behavior on this transportation system.
“Gentlemen give up their seats to ladies and the disabled. Rules are followed and so are seat assignments,” Fernández said in a recent speech.
In Santo Domingo subways, he added, sanitation is well kept and users understand that they are not allowed to eat chicharrones, the typical dish of Villa Mella, to the north of Santo Domingo, which the subway line passes after traveling 14.5 kilometers.
Therefore, despite the controversy that has surrounded the construction of the subway from start to finish, the inhabitants of the country’s capital see in this railroad a solution to lengthy commutes in a country with a deficient public transportation system.
“I believe this is the beginning of the creation of a good transportation system in our Dominican Republic,” Manuel Gil, a local resident of Yaguate in San Cristóbal (west), said to Efe.
When he commutes to the capital city, Gil takes his own vehicle, parks it, and runs his errands and visits on the underground, avoiding the long city traffic and the resultant stress, he stated.
The subway is a great service, it has no inconveniences, and in a matter of minutes it goes from one place to another,” added Gil, who recounted having similar experiences in Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Venezuela.
The subway in Santo Domingo, considered the largest infrastructure built in the Dominican Republic, was officially inaugurated on January 29 after a few tests in December, when it transported over 2 million people free of charge.
The 14.5 kilometer long train route cost $672 million dollars, according to official numbers.
It goes from north to south along Máximo Gómez Avenue, in the heart of the Dominican capital, all the way to the Villa Mella community, in the city of Santo Domingo North, and is estimated to be able to carry 175 thousand people per day.
The subway has 16 stations connected by 19 trains and 57 cars which were made in Spain, and its construction was supervised by the Metro de Madrid and international companies like the German Siemens.
The underground railway is also a tourist spot and many foreigners who visit the country now want to experience it.
Just like Manuel, a Colombian visiting Santo Domingo, who did not want to leave without first “experiencing it.”
“The subway is very beautiful, very fast, and it is not crowded. Its route passes by a very important part of the country,” said Manuel in statements to Efe, in which he emphasized information from subway employees about the routes and stations. On weekends entire families come from different places to see the subway, and during the weekdays schools go on field trips to familiarize their students with the underground.
The construction was accomplished despite strong opposition from the political sector and popular organizations, complaining that the government should focus on other priorities, like health and education.
Despite this opposition, last month the President instructed the Oficina de Reordenamiente del Transporte to speed up the construction of the second route of the Santo Domingo subway, which will connect the city of San Luis (east) to Los Alcarrizos (west).
Fernández expects to inaugurate the second route of the subway in February 2012.