Mostly Overland

in search of Kinder eggs

On the Panama City Metro

Generally I’d like to post in chronological order, but today’s photos are mildly newsworthy so I thought I’d post them now instead of waiting. Today was the first weekday of operation for Central America’s first Metro system, here in Panama City. (Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic also has one). I decided it’d be worth seeing on the way to the Panama Canal. The nearest station was Iglesia del Carmen, about a ten minute walk from my hotel. Three stops later I was at the end of the line at Albrook Bus Terminal. At that point my trip went all wrong, but that’s a matter for another post.

Passengers walking into the Panama City Metro subway at the Iglesia del Carmen station, with the namesake church reflected in the glass.

Passengers walking into the Panama City Metro subway at the Iglesia del Carmen station, with the namesake church reflected in the glass.

The Metro may only be two days old but Panama City has taken to it in a big way. Every train was packed, and patrons were already used to distractedly studying their cell phones and ignoring everyone else with earphones in. There is some room for improvement, however, when it comes to stepping out for a second to let other passengers off.

Waiting for the train.

Waiting for the train.

Crammed in.

Crammed in.

The train ran fairly quickly but we were held at one station for a minute or two for some technical reason; so congrats, Panama City, you’ve already reached Chicago levels of quality for rapid transit.

Police presence is high as the Metro starts up.

Police presence is high as the Metro starts up.

I’m not sure how much a ticket really costs. I had to pay $2 to get a card but I think that was just for the card itself. On the way back I looked at the turnstile as I tapped my card and it said my trip cost $0.00; I dont’ know if that’s because it was a quick return or if they were letting everyone through free (saw a lot of other people with $0.00 fares).

My ticket. Tap and go.

My ticket. Tap and go.

Stations are lacking in artistry, for now. Renderings I saw suggested art is on the way.

Stations are lacking in artistry, for now. Renderings I saw suggested art is on the way.

Modern train.

Modern train.

Lines, tubes and circles.

Lines, tubes and circles.

Plenty of workers on hand, finishing up the stations.

Plenty of workers on hand, finishing up the stations.

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