After a long first year uniting the cities of Córdoba and La Calera, the Metropolitan train exhibits its deficiencies more than its virtues.
The national authorities launched it in December 2021. As the Secretary of Metropolitan Development of the Municipality of Córdoba, Gabriel Bermúdez, acknowledges, they did so without coordination with the Province or the Municipality.
As is logical, all local governments must influence any public passenger transport service that operates in their territory. No one better than the local authorities to analyze the route, the frequencies, the stops, the interrelation with the rest of the system.
None of that happened. What’s more, it could be said that this lack of coordination resulted in disaffection: there were no dissemination campaigns to inform about the existence of the urban railway. And even Bermúdez himself, who was one of its promoters, admitted before The voice that the Metropolitan today does not serve as an alternative transportation.
For its part, the position of Trenes Argentinos is contradictory. On the one hand, based on the ticket cut that it registered throughout 2022, it considers the first year of operation satisfactory. On the other hand, it reduced the services: there are no longer five daily departures from each end of the route, but two; Furthermore, he never included Saturdays and Sundays in his grid.
How is it possible that given what is estimated to be a good result, the service is not extended, but rather, on the contrary, it is reduced?
A chronicler for this newspaper verified that the Tren de las Sierras, which fulfills a tourist function, usually has a high occupancy rate. The exact opposite occurs with the Metropolitan, despite the fact that the service fee is barely symbolic. Beyond the official data from the Ministry of Transport of the Nation, this is the reality.
Now, Trenes Argentinos announced a significant investment to build, during the first half of this year, five new stops in strategic places in the city of Córdoba, with which it is expected to “meet the school and labor demand of the neighbors, and also combine with other means of transport.
Shouldn’t those stations have been done before launching the service? Because now people will be able to access the train at more points along the route, but it will have fewer daily frequencies.
In other words, is such an investment justified for a train that runs barely twice a day in each direction and only five days a week, elements that make it unattractive to the public? Because surely the proportion of the potential user sector of the Metropolitano, whose round trip schedules coincide with the few services offered by the train, will not be very significant.
If the services are not regular and do not have a frequency linked to the schedules of the different urban activities, the user of public transport will prefer other options.
Córdoba and its metropolitan area need to enrich the transport system, and the urban railway has always been thought of as an alternative. But in the current conditions, it enhances the problems, instead of providing a solution.