HISTORY OF THE San Juan METRO
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The Tren Urbano (English: Urban Train) is a 10.7-mile (17.2 km) fully automated rapid transit system that serves the municipalities of San Juan, Guaynabo and Bayamón in Puerto Rico. The Tren Urbano consists of 16 stations operating on 10.7 miles (17.2 km) of track along a single line.
The Tren Urbano complements other forms of public transportation services in the San Juan metropolitan area such as the Metropolitan Bus Authority, Cataño Ferry, taxis and shuttles. The entire mass transportation system is operated by the Integrated Transit Authority (ATI), The Tren Urbano system is operated by Alternate Concepts, Inc. (ACI). Tren Urbano is also the Caribbean's first rapid transit system.
Further information: Rail transport in Puerto Rico
In the late 19th century while the island was under Spanish rule, regional rail systems were begun in Puerto Rico. The railroad continued to be in use under US rule for most of the first half of the 20th century and played a key role in the transportation of people and goods throughout the island. The railroad systems of the period also played a vital role in the sugarcane industry.
From 1901 to 1946 San Juan had a street tramway network known as “Trolley” de San Juan operated by the Porto Rico Railway, Light and Power Company with more than 20 miles (32 km) of tracks and ran between San Juan and Santurce. During its heyday, it was the most modern electric streetcar system in Puerto Rico, rivaling New York and Toronto and transported nearly 10 million passengers a year. Today there are plans to bring back the tram to the heart of San Juan to complement the Tren Urbano.
During the 1950s, an industrial boom, due in part to development programs such as Operation Bootstrap, led to the downfall of agriculture as the principal industry on the island. During this decade automobiles became more widely available. Newer, and more efficient roads and highways along with the closure of sugarcane mills displaced the need for rail transportation.
The Urban Train is an economical, fast and ecological way to travel in the metro area. The Urban Train system is made up of 16 stations distributed in the municipalities of San Juan, Guaynabo and Bayamón.
The system operates every day of the year from 5:30 a.m. at 11:30 p.m. and it facilitates the connection to educational centers, sports and recreational centers, government agencies and corporations, and hospital institutions, among others. The mission of the Urban Train is to provide a mass transportation system to promote the social and economic development of Puerto Rico.
San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico and has 1.1 million inhabitants.
First line of the Tren Urbano under construction since 1997. Initially planned to open in 2001 it suffered some delays After trial service began in Dec. 2004, regular revenue service started eventually on 6 June 2005.
Initially planned with a length of 17.2 km and 16 stations, mainly elevated or at grade, underground at Río Pedras (Río Pedras and Universidad stations) and in downtown San Juan, the district of Santurce (San Mateo and Minillas stations). The latter section was postponed for an indefinite future.
The first trains produced by Siemens in Sacramento (California) arrived in March 2000.
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