TREN URBANO FIASCO

Tren Urbano

It’s been a year and a half since its introduction and the
Tren Urbano
is working but it’s not going anywhere, here’s why:

The entire mass transportation system dubbed the Alternativa de Transpor-tación Integrada, “ATI” [Integrated Transportation Alternative] doesn’t work!

The public bus system doesn’t work!

The water ferries and shuttles from Hato Rey Station [Golden Mile District] to Old San Juan have had two false starts and are nonexistent!

Tren Urbano Home Page [official site], hasn’t been working for over year! and the Tren Urbano Puerto Rico Public Art Project Home Page has been suspended!

Sidewalks are nonexistent since they are taken-over by cars!

And finally, the Tren Urbano “está cojo”, it doesn’t go anywhere, just ask anyone in San Juan, its been built from the outskirts-inwards, all systems in the world start from the city centre towards the outskirts, it doesn’t reach “la espina dorsal”, the main troughfare of the city, densely populated areas such as Santurce, Miramar and Old San Juan, building extensions to Caguas as planned will also not solve anything, it will just promote further urban sprawl, exactly what developers want because roadways are clogged, Caguas could easily be served by a Rapid Transit Bus system with its own right-of-way and higher quality inter-city buses, a much less costly alternative!

Do we really want to be enslaved by the car in suburbia, do we really need 1+ ton of metal and 100+ horses to transport us to the corner store in this day and age!, are we being shortchanged!

This letter is in reference to comments posted on July 9th, 2003:
El Tren Urbano: Will it solve San Juan’s traffic congestion or create a new problem?

Photo: Felix Lopes © All Rights Reserved

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9 Responses to “TREN URBANO FIASCO”

  1. ksmit says:

    I rode on the tren urbano to the UPR campus and it was running quite well.

  2. Robert Espier says:

    I dont know, but the idea of a train on such a small & beautiful island is an obscenity; and rightly state, why not improve the bus system, which, even with creating new roadways, would disrupt the land less than creating RR rights of way.

  3. ksmit says:

    I can’t disagree more. Having a railroad system that is designed well would prove more ecologically sound that having the major roadways eat up all that pristine land with asphalt. And it would present people with the option of riding a train than driving a car or riding a bus both of which are ecologically unsound. Arguably smaller highways and electric cars and buses might work. Ideally, the web and new techonologies would eliminate the need for travel as much and allow for a slowing down of modern life’s pace. We have seen the opposite because of the way technology is being used to up the capitalist ante and starve us all of precious time.

    Sooner or later you netizens (is this word obsolete already) will wake up and find your hair is grey and your hands arthritic. You’ve been travelling the speed of light and have gotten nowhere. That’s a thought.

    I would like to consider the possibility that technology would free men and women to develop themselves rather than turning them into cyborgs.

    Puerto Rico with all its enlightened men and women should be attempting to create a new model of living rather than playing catch up or already caught up with a moribund suburban-like U.S. model. Think ecology and stop overbuilding PR. Really, now.

  4. Jorge Ullfig says:

    ¡Nos espetaron el tren . . .! literally! would you buy a car and not use it, well that’s what the government did, put up a $2+ billion dollar system that even they cannot use because “esta cojo”, if they would have build it the way it should have been from the beginning, it would have gone right trough Puerta de Tierra witch is the site of most of Puerto Rico’s central government buildings, including the “El Capitolio”, and the core of the city, Colonial San Juan, home of the governor’s mansion, but wait, would government officials use the public transportation system to travel to their governmental offices, I doubt it very much, they’ll probably stick to their black private Chauffeur driven vehicles, forget about “elected representatives” creating an example to the people, and yes, extensions are planned but when you’re transporting 32.000 folks, instead of the 80.000 planned, adding up to a wooping $95 million budget deficit, something is wrong, and by the way, this system has a capability of transporting up to 400,000 daily,

    “¡Nos espetaron el tren y ahora arreglensen!”

  5. ramon fuentes. says:

    ajuanm ramon fuentes , i think that the tren urbano routeshourd go to old san juan

  6. The government should spend that money on green chauffeur cars and take people to work, i know most people would use the system. At least they would be loved by the people for that and be the first government in the world to do this. Why do you think, and remember that would give more jobs for peeps.

  7. davsot says:

    No one here did their research. The author of this post wrote a critique, without getting the facts straight, only to garner misguided attention.

    The Tren Urbano we have today is called Fase 1. There are 16 stations.

    But the original plans calles for 36 stations, with lines ending in Old San Juan, the international airport and Carolina’s historic district. It’s so bad in fact, that Fase 1 was never finished, because it was originally supposed to end at Minillas government center.

    The only problem is we love our cars so much, and the government is so stupid, that they just abandoned the whole project.

    So you’re probably asking, why Fase 1 got built first, if building the Old San Juan line would’ve gotten more riders. One of the main reasons is because this line was the spinal cord to the rest of the system. Another reason is because Fase 1 was actually going to be an extension of 65th Infantry Ave. westward, but someone in the government clicked and decided they should build a metro system instead.

    And for those of you who think that a train system on a tropical island is utter blasphemy, it just shows how blatantly ignorant you are. Trains are the most efficient forms of mass transportation, they can be good for the environment and our health (less pollution), they help bring people together (unlike cars) and they help promote walking and biking, the most efficient form of transportation. We weren’t born with cars, we were born with legs. We don’t have oil on the island, we don’t even have refineries. The oil we use to move ourselves around the Island comes from other parts of the world, sometimes even from parts of the world in distress.

    Another thing to consider, is that we had a very successful train system on the island, we had train culture and it too was part of our culture as Puerto Ricans. No one knows why the government was so urgent to dismantle the system, and although it was encouraged to turn tracks into trails by the Federal Government, this didn’t happen either, so it wasn’t the Federal government, it was the local government. Our old train system gave passenger service to all coastal municipalities and freight service to every single plantation / farm on the island.

    Others cry fowl at the cost of Fase 1, and although their cries are not without merit, consider how much money and space the government invests for roads. Another problem, which I learned through discussions with higher-ups, is the workforce of Puerto Rico, and its laziness. Other problems include how some contractors wanted to pocket some more money, and when the time came to investigate the construction materials being used, that contractor got in trouble and held up the entire system’s completion date.

    We only need to look at how much other cities are progressing by building these systems. The first line of the Metro de Santo Domingo was built in 36 months, while the one in Puerto Rico took almost 72 months. The Metro of Santo Domingo will get finished, while the Tren Urbano will not. Remember, Fase 2-4 are not expansions, they are vital parts of the system and the only way the system can work is if we have them all, but without them, we get what we have today, a system that goes nowhere, carries no one, and does not solve any problems as it was intended to.

    Zillions of things can happen, and it all stems from how greedy some people can be. A train system for the people, a failed experiment, whatever you want to call it, the Tren Urbano does not deserve your criticism as much as the government of Puerto Rico does.

  8. Luis Arroyo says:

    Let’s not forget that the Popular Democrat Party (who were for it before being against it) opposed the Urban Train when they realized it might make PR more attractive for statehood.
    Former Governor Sila Maria Calderon (D)(PDP) froze construction under allegations of corruption proven false. All this to spite former pro statehood PNP governor Pedro Rosello.
    Her stalling measures,anti american persecutions, seperatist rheteric combined with the Electoral victory of Anibal Acevedo Villa, another anti American seperatist,indefinitely put the brakes on any major infrastructure projects on the island.
    This led Congress to redirect money set aside for PR Tren Urbano to other states.
    So thank the “Popular” Democrat Party, who has opposed every major Freeway, Railway, water aqueduct, hydroelectric dams,bilingual education meaasures on the island. The PDP’s mission is to keep PR backwards and primitive, their goal? Avoid statehood.

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