|Medellín is a city of over two million people nested in a narrow valley surrounded by high mountains. As it grew, it began populating the slopes of the mountains around, which complicated the transportation.|
Like most Central America cities i
visited, Medellín is covered with a large array of small companies
running city buses, painted in various colours, in addition to the
ones of the official transit commission.
One of the various buses running the city.
Inside of metro train.
The difference however is that Medellín
hss an aerial metro system, inaugurated in 1995, using different
technologies. The first technology is an electricity powered train
system consisting of two lines that cover most of the bottom of the
valley where the city is nested. Nothing special about these trains
except it's larger than most others I've seen, having a width of six
seats rather than usual five.
The real difference however in their
transit system are aerial gondolas to desserve the mountains around
the city core. This aerial cabin metro system is directly tied to
the train one, which makes it easy to go back and forth. The first
line was opened in 2004 with another line in 2008, expanded in 2009.
For the residents on the hills, that aerial link makes a huge
difference as a 15-minute gondola ride replaces a two-hour bus ride
in the small and crooked streets.
As the people began to populate the
hills, some of the development went a bit in any direction by
building clusters of houses reachable only by foot through a maze of
stairs. There are very long and steep stairs. To help the residents
in one particularly dense area (commune 13), the city built a series
of escalators that entered in service in 2011. The six segments
zigzag the hill on a total distance of close to 400 metres.
Overall, the system in Medellín is
very modern, clean and secure, much better than any city in Central
America, much much more expensive too (US$0,85 per passage).
View of the outdoor electric stairs.