Monday, July 02, 2007

Commuter train plans additional runs to meet demand

The Costa Rica Railroads Institute (Incofer) - Costa Rica's train authority - says that its commuter train has become so popular with Costa Ricans that it needs to add an additional trip during the afternoon hours.

The commuter train began operating in October 2005, carrying passengers between Pavas and San Pedro during morning and afternoon rush hours.

Incofer says that in May the number of ticos buying tickets on the commuter train reached 70.000, representing a huge increase if compared to the period of October to December 2005 when the train carried 6.000 passengers each month.

When the service began operating, the locomotive pulled three coaches carrying 50 seated and 15 standing passengers. Today, the locomotives are pulling eight coaches during each trip, moving an average of 3.200 passengers daily, compared to 270 back in October 2005.

The commuter train makes 13 trips daily at a cost of ¢300 colones (about 60 cents of a dollar).

The trip between Pavas and the downtown station is only 17 minutes, while the same trip, at 4:30 p.m. by bus, would take more than an hour.

Miguel Carabaguiaz, president of Incofer, says that the train has become so popular that in the afternoon some passengers are riding on the steps of the coaches.

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