The Urban Train has moved a record-breaking 10 million passengers during the first 11 months of the year, Transportation Secretary Rubén Hernández-Gregorat said.
He credited the achievement to a number of initiatives implemented under the current administration, including slashing the fare per ride by half, to .75 cents. That change took place in April 2008.
“Reaching 10 million passengers in 11 months is a real achievement. In fact, this is the first time since it began operating that the train moves that number of passengers in less than a year,” Hernández-Gregorat said, placing the responsibility for the improvement on Urban Train Administrator María Elena Cristy and her staff.
The San Juan metropolitan area’s $2.25 billion mass transit system began operating in 2005, in an attempt to get more residents to ditch their cars in favor of the train. While ridership levels have had their highs and lows, the government has been figuring out ways to synchronize the service with other collective transportation systems, such as buses and the Maritime Transportation Authority’s ferries.
For her part, Cristy urged citizens to use the mass transportation systems to do their holiday shopping, when getting in and out of malls by car — and finding a parking — becomes a challenge.
“At Christmas is a victory to get a parking space in shopping centers. Thus, public transport, composed of the Urban Train, the Metropolitan Bus Authority and the San Juan metro area ferries are the best option for Christmas shopping,” she said, adding students and senior citizens get reduced rates of .35 cents per ride.
The Urban Train runs Monday through Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., and makes 16 stops along its 10-mile route from Bayamón to Santurce.
While ridership levels are reportedly picking up, retail activity at the spaces available at 13 of the 16 stations has yet to fully come to life, as many of the larger commercial locations remain empty.