$120 million in Metro subsidies

The State, through the Metro of Panama, has granted $120 million during 2016, 2017 and 2018, in order to maintain the rate of 35cents to users.

In the last three years , the State, through Metro de Panamá SA , has allocated $ 120 million as a subsidy to maintain the passage of line 1 of the Metro.

This contribution was provided at a rate of $40 million per year allowing  the rate to be maintained at 35 cents for the general public, 24 cents for people with disabilities and seniors, and 17 cents for students.

However, at present, both the Metro and the company Massive Transport of Panama (Mi Bus) are working with the Inter-American Development Bank to establish a new tariff.

Luis Torres, spokesman of the National Association of Public Transport Users , stressed that at  this moment "is not viable" to announce an increase in the ticket, since both the Metro and Mi Bus are not providing a good service.

Line 1 of the Metro began operating in July 2014 and Line 2 is expected to start operations in 2019.

According to the entity, the evaluation revolves around the figure of an "integrated passage", through which it is intended that users save time and money with the use of both modes of transport: line 1 and 2 of the Metro and Metro Bus.

Although few details are known about the new tariff, the Metro Secretary, Roberto Roy, has expressed that once Metro Line 2 is put into operation, possibly in the first quarter of 2019, the trans shipments between both railway lines will have no cost.

This same modality is the one used by Metro Bus users, who have the opportunity to get on the bus network for up to two and a half hours with the payment of a single ticket. This is allowed, provided that the passenger passes the card in the validator and travels in the same direction.

The former director of the Transit and Ground Transportation Authority Roberto Moreno agreed with the authorities of the Metro that it is very "premature" to have fixed amounts of tickets or fares, because  the demand for line 2 is not exactly known.

In fact, in districts such as Pedregal, Don Bosco, Tocumen, December 24 and Pacora, where Line 2 of the Metro will pass, there are more than 500 thousand people.

Regarding the subsidy, the former official suggested that this contribution should only benefit nationals, while tourists should be subject to another fee.

Luis Torres, spokesman of the National Association of Public Transport Users, said that at this time the public transportation system "is not working in an integral way and still has severe deficiencies." He said that there is still a need for more buses and wagons, both for the Metro Bus and for Metro Line 1, respectively. "This forces users to have to pay more to move from one place to another, using alternative transport,"