ALSA-National Express, a public transport operator, will launch a new collective transportation system which will run between the municipalities of Caguas and San Juan, with stops at the Medical Center, Plaza Las Americas, Hato Rey, Covadonga and Isla Verde, among others.
Following a $1 million investment, the firm will run two routes using a fleet of five modern coach buses equipped with three-point seatbelts, a bathroom, USB and power ports and security cameras, among other features.
The diesel-based vehicles with a capacity for 54 passengers and the driver will operate exclusively on the PR52 and PR18 highways, rather than PR1, which public carriers currently use. The proposed service will offer considerable savings in travel times, company and government officials said during a news conference Wednesday.
The price of the service will fluctuate between $2.50 and $4 per trip. Service will run from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Caguas to San Juan and from 6:30 a.m. to. 10 p.m. from San Juan to Caguas, Monday through Friday. The full breakdown of the service is available at www.alsa.pr.
“For decades, the route between San Juan and Caguas has been considered one of the most important to seek greater economic activity, which benefits not only the people of the area, but all of Puerto Rico,” said Department of Transportation and Public Works Secretary Carlos Contreras.
“For this reason, there have been many proposals for public transport that have been discussed publicly, including a connection by train,” he said. “However, after a serious analysis of the economic, environmental and social challenges of each proposal, we have been consistent that before considering a train for this route, we must establish a system such as the one we are announcing today, which allows us to educate in a cost-effective wat about the advantages and benefits of collective transport.”
“This project comes with guarantees backed by the experience and prestige of this company, which has a successful track record in countries across multiple continents. Therefore, we are very optimistic that this will result in an attractive service for citizens, with reasonable prices, comfortable and reliable travel schedules, and respectful of the environment, by using modern vehicles that provide less emissions, among other benefits,” he added.
Meanwhile, Miguel Pérez-Juez, director of corporate finance and regionalization for ALSA-National Express, said the project began taking shape two years ago, during which the firm worked hand-in-hand with Puerto Rico’s government agencies.
He said this is the first of two projects the company wants to launch in Puerto Rico, although he did no offer details about the initiative.
“Right now, this is the smallest project we have on an international level, but we’re very enthusiastic about it and believe Puerto Rico presents opportunities to improve services to citizens,” he said, adding the first phase of this project is generating 15 local jobs.
ALSA-National Express is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and is a public transport operator of buses and railways in the United Kingdom, continental Europe, North America, North Africa and the Middle East and which operates a fleet of 29,000 vehicles and employs some 45,000 people companywide.