The Panama Metro

The Panama Metro (Spanish: Metro de Panamá) is a metropolitan rapid transit railway in Panama City, Panama, which currently links Los Andes County with the city center. It was inaugurated on April 5, 2014.

It was built to relieve the traffic congestion between the city and San Miguelito District and offer commuters a viable alternative to road transport, as the Metrobus transport system is suffering multiple issues.

The Panama Metro is part of a major “National Master Plan” to improve transportation in Panama City as well as the west side of the country, which includes the construction of two more lines and a light rail. It currently consists of one 13.7-kilometer (8.5 mi) line, serving 12 stations, with 2 more stations set to open in August 2014, and a fifteenth station planned.

Several spots in Central America have been on the “cool places to visit” list for a few years now, but Panama’s popularity gains momentum with every headline event. Just this year, the country has had several new hotel openings (including an Ace!), it’s the 100th Anniversary of the Panama Canal, and now Panama has debuted a brand new subway system.

It’s not every day you get to catch a ride aboard public transportation free from graffiti and litter, and of course on a train that still retains that new subway smell. Panama City debuted their new trains and tracks earlier this month, and they’re the first country in Central America to have such a system.

Of course there’s some political pandering involved with the debut of the new system, as the country’s outgoing president threw a little party along with the big reveal—complete with fireworks, concerts, and a Chinese dragon dance. That’s one way to get people excited about things.

A total of $2 billion was spent to get things up and running, as the new system does its thing around nine miles in and around the country’s capital. There has been criticism that all that cash could have been spent elsewhere to improve traffic and congestion, but we bet that the fact that rides will be free for the first couple of months will change plenty of opinion.

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