A typical Interlinea bus stop and sign.
A typical Interlinea bus stop and sign.

QCOSTARICA – On Thursday, commuters in the greater metropolitan area (GAM) of San José got a boost in options with the launch of three additional “interlinea” (Rutas intersectoriales) bus routes: Escazú-Alajuelita-Hatillo, Santa Ana-San Antonio de Belén-La Valencia, and Guadalupe-Moravia-La Valencia.

The Interlinea routes are now five.  Click here for all routes information.

The Interlineas eliminate the need for travel to and from downtown San José to make a connection to another bus operating in another sector. For example, on the Interlinea one can travel between two adjoining communities like Escazú and Alajuelita on one bus (and one fare). Prior to Thursday, the same travel meant two buses (and two fares): Escazú – San José and San José – Alajuelita.

However, as in the Santa Ana-San Antonio de Belén-La Valencia route, the longest of the routes at 34 kilometres, the travel time can be up to two hours or more during rush hour due to the massive congestion between Lindora and Belén and then again in the area of La Valencia.

On this route, the concessionaire operates between 15 and 19 buses, running every 15 minutes at peak times and every 20 minutes at other times, between 5:00am and 7:00pm, with up to 39 stops.

The other four routes run into the same problem.

Alex Alvarez,  of the Foro Nacional de Transportistas(National Carriers Forum), says that one way to convince users is for the buses to have a “priority” lane. But that is no simple task, since most of the routes are two lanes (one in each direction and no bus bays) that doesn’t allow for the creation of a special bus lane.

While the Interlinea system is a welcome change to the public transportation around the most populated area of the country, the lack of infrastructure and the ability of the system to deliver quicker service holds back it use by many.

President Luis Guillermo Solís shaking the hand of one of the passengers of the new Interlinea routes that went into service Thursday.
President Luis Guillermo Solís shaking the hand of one of the passengers of the new Interlinea routes that went into service Thursday.

Another point made by Alavarez is that for many potential users, the Interlinea is still a mystery, the  Consejo de Transporte Público (CTP) – Public Transport Council – should do a better job at promotoing and educating potential users on the system.


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