Still at the stage of feasibility and engineering studies, the proposed metro for Bogotá has not been an easy sell to the general public despite years in the planning and a city council which originally opposed the costs of this mega project. The mayoralty of Gustavo Petro does see the metro as a necessary alternative though for the mass transportation needs of a capital of 8 million and which has suffered a collapse with mobility despite the expansion of the articulated bus system, SITP, which is running at full capacity with 2 million passengers every day.

After years in the planning and revising the original routes, the Bogotá Metro is scheduled to break ground in 2016, and will be handed over the city, at the latest, by 2021. But, as the final studies were handed over last week to the Mayor and the District’s Planning Institute – IDU – by José María Villarroel, the Spanish engineer of the L1 consortium in charge of the designs, the total cost for the project’s first metro line has risen to 15 billion COP (equivalent to US$ 7.35 billion),  more than double the estimated cost projected back in 2012 of US$ 100 million per kilometer of the planned 35 km network. The metro will run from the Calle 127 in the north through the city’s downtown core to Kennedy and Bosa in the south.

The trains will be similar to those which currently operate in Singapore and not require a conductor. The planned metro would move up to one million passengers every day and pass through 27 proposed stations at a frequency of every two and a half minutes.

President Juan Manuel Santos has expressed concern that if Bogotá’s Metro surpasses the designated budget, other public works in the capital – and country – would have to be scrapped. The state has committed itself to covering 70 percent of the first 15 billion pesos, with the city financing the rest. Mayor Petro now has to raise an additional 1.1 billion pesos from the city’s coffers, which could lead to more unpopular surcharges at tollbooths, and hikes next year in property taxes for those who reside near the proposed first line of the metro.