If you want to travel by subway in Central America, it’s now possible to do so in Panama City, Panama. Panama City’s new subway system, known as the Metro de Panama, launched last month, and already, it’s helping to relieve congested traffic and get residents from Point A to Point B. Schoolchildren and office workers are currently some of the various stations’ most frequent users.
It’s fair to say that the Panama City subway system is not as extensive as other large metro systems, such as those in Mexico City and Sao Paulo. For now, the system is comprised of one line that makes 12 stops throughout the city. For first time users, leaflets are available at all subway ticket booths that help explain some of the basics of using the system (stand behind the yellow line, don’t eat food, etc).
A Travel Weekly correspondant recently traveled to Panama and used the subway system to see what it was all about, and noted that, “Given Panama City’s unrelenting traffic, perhaps it isn’t surprising that its citizens have taken so readily to this new form of transportation.” He noticed that, although office and school kids were early adopters, there were also a fair number of shoppers and tourists already taking a liking to the system.
As the first metro system in Central America, Panama City’s small but capable system is representative of the influx of wealth and growth the country has been experiencing — it’s the second largest economy in Central America, and also has the fastest growing economy. New construction to widen the Panama Canal has brought even more economic capital to the area.
Juan Carlos Varela, the Panamenista Party leader and new president-elect as of this past week, says that Panama will be investing in at least two more metro lines for Panama City in the near future.