(TODAY PANAMA) Panama’s new Metro subway, the first in Central America that is expected to be used by some 1.5 million people. The tour, organized by the Panama Metro Secretariat, started with an explanation to the users on how to use the system, payment methods and how to deal with the approach of trains. Then the journey began.

The system was to have been operational in January and the February and be free for at least the first month.

“We’re in the home stretch. The contractor has handed over the finished work and we are in the testing phase, to be ready for an April 5 start up”, said Metro Secratariat spokesperson, Dalam Duque.

The train will travel 14 kilometres, elevated and underground, in 23 minutes with stops at 13 stations from San Miguelito, through Panama City centre and the Albrook bus terminal.

The project comes with a US$1.8 billion dollar price tag, financed by a consortium of Brazil’s Odebrecht, Spain’s Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) and France’s Alstom.

“This is one of the most modern trains in the world, it does not even need a driver”, said Daniel Garcia, one of the Spanish industrial engineers.

The train is expected to alleviate the chaotic traffic conditions of Panama City.

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