Rave Reviews for Rio Metro Opening

(ATR) Riders of the new metro line 4 tell ATR how it will improve their Olympic experience.

(ATR) A passing journalist put it best about the new metro line in Rio de Janeiro, "they finally got something right!"

At 6 am today metro line 4 began operations for the first time. After numerous delaysand cost overruns, the metro will now service Olympic spectators and those credentialed for the event.

Service will run from August 1 to 21, before a shutdown to continue final preparations. Ahead of the Paralympics the metro will reopen, with the same restrictions on passengers for the Olympic Games. After the Paralympics, the metro will open to the general populace.

Around the Rings took the metro this morning, from Ipanema to the Olympic Park. From General Osorio station, the metro took just over 20 minutes to reach Jardim Oceanico in Barra da Tijuca. After exiting the metro, only a quick scant was needed to reach the Bus Rapid Transit platform. There, a bus was ready to travel directly to the Olympic Park.

From door to door the trip took just about one hour, which is the same travel time as in a vehicle, without traffic. Unfortunately, in Rio it is nearly impossible to avoid traffic. During the BRT excursion, traffic on both sides of the major roadways in Barra could be seen, but was avoided through public transit.

Daniel, a volunteer, told ATR that he now estimates his travel time from Copacabana to the Olympic Park will be cut in half because of the metro. He said "the metro is amazing and incredible, and I need that." He plans to use the metro every day to get to his volunteer duties.

"It’s very empty, but I know it is empty right now because the metro is only available for volunteers and those with credentials," Daniel said. "I know that eventually when it opens to the population more people will be using it and I think it could be ready."

Travelling with Daniel was another volunteer named Larissa, who will be assisting the Mozambique Olympic team. She lives in Tijuca, a neighborhood in the north zone of Rio, which used to take nearly two hours to reach Barra by public transit.

She doubts she will be using the metro after the Olympics, but it will be vital for her volunteer duties. The opening of the line remains bittersweet, she said, because it is only adding five stops.

"It took a long time to get prepared to use it, 26 years, so it’s a little bit disappointing, but we are fine," Larissa said to ATR. "I hope the subway will work very well for everybody."

Italo Nogueira, a journalist from Folha de Sao Paulo, doesn’t anticipate he will use the metro much during the Games, but was checking the first day of operations. He told ATR that he was not surprised the metro was very empty, and ran just over a minute slower than organizers originally estimated.

"I will not use it so much because I’ll use the media shuttles when going to the Olympic Park," Nogueira added. "If I’m going around in South Zone, maybe I’ll use the metro, but I’m not going to the Olympic Park much, so it is not for me. It is good, though!"

Written by Aaron Bauer in Rio de Janeiro

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