SANTIAGO – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet inaugurated on Thursday a new line of the Santiago metro that is projected to cut travel times by up to 60 percent for more than 1 million commuters.
The opening of Line 6 “is a democratizing advance, because it involves the entire community and makes the city nicer for everyone,” she said during a brief ceremony.
The new route extends 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the southwestern district of Cerrillos to Providencia, located in the heart of the capital.
All of the trains are equipped with air conditioning, security cameras and shatterproof windows and are set up to accommodate people in wheelchairs, while the 10 stations on the new route have escalators.
Planning for Line 6 began in 2006, during Bachelet’s first term as president, and it was originally forecast to open during the 2010-2014 mandate of her successor, Sebastian Piñera, but the start of construction was delayed five years.
“Inaugurating something is always exciting, but it’s particularly important when you decided on it during a previous administration and it befalls you to inaugurate it in the second term,” Bachelet said. “It’s a pregnancy a little bit longer than nine months, but at least there is a delivery.”
With the completion of Line 6, which cost $2.8 billion, the Santiago metro covers 118 kilometers. Daily ridership is 2.5 million.
Another new line is expected to be finished in the second half of 2018.