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Business News Americas
Carolina Begins Urban Train Feeder Transport Studies
15 February 2005
Puerto Rico's (PR) Carolina municipality is carrying out studies for a system to transport residents to the island's rapid transit system dubbed the urban train, Carolina mayor's office told BNamericas.
Upon receiving news that the US government would fund the urban train's US$900mn extension running 14km from capital San Juan to Carolina, mayor José Aponte asked for funding from PR's transportation and public works department (DTOP) for studies into feeder transport to the urban train. The DTOP agreed, granting the municipality US$669,000.
"The final cost of the studies will be closer to US$600,000," the mayor's office said in an emailed response. UK-based Innovative Transport is performing the study to determine the best form of intra- and inter-urban transport to satisfy Carolina's current and future needs, and to define transport routes and cost effectiveness of the recommended transport, it added.
With the extension of the urban train and the existing lack of public transport within the municipality, planners believe residents will drive to the Carolina station for transport to San Juan. Carolina is the city with the most amount of cars on the island, according to reports.
Possible transport systems include a light-rail system and/or a system of articulated buses to transport Carolina residents to the urban train station. The idea is for Carolina residents to leave their cars at home and ride public transport to the urban train station and then to places of work.
While Carolina's metropolitan bus authority (AMA) and municipal urban transport (TUM) offer continuous transport services, "they do not satisfy the public transport needs of Carolina or of PR's eastern region," the mayor's office said.
The municipality plans to design a system so convenient that residents will truly be encouraged to leave their cars at home and use public transport.
Studies on the transport system are slated for completion by end-March, with works beginning within four years, the mayor's office said. Preliminary estimates place costs of a light-rail system for Carolina at US$200mn.
Planners believe the Carolina extension of the urban train will add some 85,000 passengers. Carolina has a population of nearly 200,000.
The 17km urban train trunk line in capital San Juan was inaugurated mid-December and was built by Siemens. Costing more than US$2.1bn, it is Puerto Rico's largest infrastructure project.