By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Starting on Monday, September 19th, the day after the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the long awaited Metro Line 4, will open to the public. After almost twenty years in the making, the public will be able to ride the new metro (subway) from 6AM to 9PM, Monday to Friday.
Originally, city officials had only planned to open the new line after the Paralympics for the limited hours of 11AM to 3PM. However after the success of the Metro Line 4’s operation during the Rio 2016 Olympics and its smooth run during the Paralympics so far, officials have decided to extend operating times to 6AM to 9PM once Line 4 opens to the public.
“I knew it was necessary to extend the time to get the public going to and coming home from work,” said Rio’s Secretary of Transportation Rodrigo Vieira to O Globo. “But, it was necessary to exercise caution before making the final announcement. “We looked at all the reports of the Olympics period and we saw that our assumptions were confirmed,” added the secretary. “There was no hindrance.”
Despite the decision to extend operating hours, Metro Line 4 will still run four hours less than Metro Lines 1 and 2, which operate on weekdays from 5AM to midnight. The Line 4 also will, initially, not run on weekends. “We will need that time on weekends to adjust our operation,” said Secretary Vieira.
When in full operation, officials expect the new line to transport an estimated 300,000 people daily, and also reduce traffic between Ipanema and Barra da Tijuca by about two thousand vehicles per hour in each direction.
The sixteen-km long Metro Line 4 features five new stations: Jardim Oceânico, São Conrado/Rocinha, Antero de Quental, Jardim de Alah, and Nossa Senhora da Paz, which connects with Ipanema’s General Osorio station.
The new line was inaugurated on July 30th, just days before the start of the Rio 2016 Olympics. Almost two decades in the making, the contract to build Metro Line 4 was first awarded back in 1998 to the Rio Barra SA consortium.
After years of bureaucratic red tape, ownership changes within Rio Barra, and changes to construction plans from Rio’s successful Olympic bid, the first Line 4 tracks were not laid until June 2014. Government officials had targeted January 2016 for the project’s completion, well before the start of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
After a series of financial difficulties and delays, the pledged opening in time for the Games was in jeopardy until the Brazilian federal government stepped in with emergency aid allowing the line to open on August 1st, just four days before the start of the Olympics.