Merida [VE] - New Section About to Open
K. Budach - 20.08.12
In autumn 2011 the central government in Caracas released new funds for the completion of several projects, including 131 million Bolivars (about 24.8 million Euros) for the reserved track trolleybus system in Mérida. Of this, 76 million Bolivars is for the completion of the first route and 55 million Bolivars for the planned second route, number 3. The building works for the extension towards the city centre of the existing section, which has been open since 2007, began immediately and recently an opening date for the first new section has been set for 16th September.
At the moment the section between El Ejido and Santa Juana is in service and has 16 stops. All stops have weather protection and entry barriers. The section to be opened in September, Santa Juana to Mercado Periférico, has five more stops. The final section will be from Mercado Periférico to Los Conquistadores with six stops with a terminal loop covering several blocks. There will be a connection at the Los Conquistadores terminus with the funicular Trolcable, which serves predominantly as a form of public transport. The whole system is marketed under the name Tromerca in place of the previous Trolmerida brand. The operator is Trolebús Mérdia, C.A.
In the early years, operation was restricted to a few hours only but since 27th April 2011 the following are the hours of service: Monday to Friday 6 am to 10 am and 4pm to 8 pm; Saturdays 7 am to 11 am and 4pm to 8 pm; Sundays 11 am to 7 pm. Once the extension opens all-day service should be offered. This should lead to clear increase in traffic with 40,000 passengers a day expected. Currently the load is 15,000 passengers a day despite the limited service. On certain days the timetable is being extended on the existing section.
After several years of agony this is really heartening news from this new system operating to BRT standards.
Translation: Martin Wright
The section on reserved track is operated with left hand running, the trolleybuses stop at stations with central platforms and controlled access. Photographer: Tromerca
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