Panama Metro or what is locally known as the Metro de Panamá is the rapid transit network serving the Panama City in the Republic of Panama. It is the only metro system operating in central America. The system connects the San Miguelito District to the city center. It is meant to relieve the road traffic congestion of the city and of the entire western part of the country.
Currently, only a single line is operational with 14 stations. The full track length is 15.8 km.
El Metro de Panamá manages the operation of the system. Despite being a considerably new system, it has already gained huge popularity. Every day, around 180,000 passengers travel by these metro trains.
Panama Metro started operation on April 6, 2014, as a part of the National Master Plan to find an alternative to the Metrobus system. The central government invited tenders for its construction and Línea Uno consortium happened to win it. In 2009, Systra and POYRY/Cal y Mayor y Asociados consortium got involved in the project and the initial works on planning, feasibility test, cost estimation etc. started.
The construction began in 2011 leading to a test run of Line 1 in September 2013. The line was inaugurated on April 5, 2014. Revenue service started from the very next day. The initial stretch was 13.7 km long. In 2015, the line was extended twice to achieve its current length. In September 2015, the construction of the second line also started.
Hours of Operation
On weekdays, the system operates 18 hours a day from 5 AM till 11 PM. On Saturdays, from 5 AM till 10 PM. On Sundays and holidays, the duration is reduced to 15 hours, from 7 AM till 10 PM. The headway is 3 minutes 15 seconds in peak hours, 4 minutes 20 seconds in off-peak hours.
Lines and Stations
Line 1 is a north-south route traveling from Albrook bus station to San Isidro. Of its total 15.8 km route, 7.2 km runs underground. The system has 7 underground, 6 elevated and 1 ground level stations. The section between 12 de Octubre and 5 de Mayo is underground.
The only ground level station is the northern terminal Albrook adjacent to the Marcos A. Gelabert Airport. It is the busiest station of the whole system. It is located close to a major bus terminus and a shopping center. Get off at this station to reach also the Canal. Just a few meters further there is a turnaround where all the terminating trains take a U-turn.
20, 3-car Alstom Metropolis series 9000 trains are currently in operation. They get power from the overhead electric lines. Their average speed is 50 km/hour. It takes about 26 minutes to complete a full journey on this line.
Currently, trains stop at the following stations: Albrook, 5 de Mayo , Loteria , Santo Tomas , Iglesia del Carmen , Via Argentina , Fernandez de Cordoba , El Ingenio , 12 de Octubre , Pueblo Nuevo , San Miguelito , Pan de Azucar , Los Andes , San Isidro
A new line and a new station are going to be included soon in the system. The construction time for Line 2 was projected as 46 months. However, it may be shortened. It is going to be fully elevated with a 21 km long track. There will be 16 stations along it all located in the areas of high demand. It will start from San Miguelito and in the first phase, will stop at Nuevo Tocumen. Later, the track will be extended to Felipillo.
The new station along Line 1 will stretch the route further from Albrook to Villa Zaita.
There are also plans to construct Line 3, a 26.7 km long route between Albrook and La Chorrera, Line 4, a route between Obarrio and Pedregal – Via Israel and Line 5, a route between Obarrio and Costa Del Este.
Line 6, 7 and 8 are going to be tram lines. A branch line will also operate by 2040 to connect to Marcos A. Gelabert Airport.
Fare and Ticket
The standard adult fare for a single trip in Panama Metro is 35 cents. Senior citizens and people with disabilities pay a discounted rate of 24 cents. For students, the fare is even lesser, 17 cents. Children below 4 years travel free of cost. The discounts are applicable only for the first two trips in a day. For further rides, the normal fare is charged. Student discount is valid only on weekdays.
The fare can be paid using tickets or Panama Metro cards. All the stations have ticket vending and card recharging machines.
Get the details on Panama Metro fare and ticketing systems here.
Facilities and Services
With the following facilities and services, Panama Metro authority ensures maximum convenience and comfort for its riders.
- All the trains are air conditioned. Trains are made using double gaze technology.
- CCTVs are fitted in every train of Panama Metro.
- All the trains and stations are fully accessible.
- Stations have large electronic display boards showing travel information.
- Trains wait for a reasonable duration (15 seconds) at each station.
- Metro authority offers Lost & Found service.
Know the metro rules beforehand in order to avoid the wrong use of the Panama Metro system.
- Smoking and consuming alcohol, drugs etc. are prohibited within the system.
- Passengers must maintain the common etiquettes of riding a public transport vehicle. These include allowing seat preference to elderly, disabled and ladies, maintaining a queue while getting in and off the train, paying right fare etc.
- Elevators and treadmill shouldn’t be used unless deemed necessary.
- No pets are allowed within the network.
- You must throw your trash only in the designated bins and not anywhere else on the station.
- Bikes, strollers are to be transported only in the off-peak hours.
- No passenger is allowed to enter the stations after 10 in the evening.
- For children 4 years and up, regular fare must be paid.
Keep these points in mind if you are riding the metro for the first time.
- Preferred seats on the trains and in the stations are all indicated by orange color and are marked with appropriate symbols.
- Never stay at the stations more than required. You may be charged a monetary fine for this.
- If you intend to pay the fare with a card, make sure it has required value left in it.
- If you intend to pay a discounted fare, have the supporting documents e.g. age proof, student identity card etc. ready to show.
This post is also available in: Spanish