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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

DMO takes positive view of extending Urban Train to Convention Center

By The Star Staff

WDMO takes positive view of extending Urban Train to Convention Center route to the northwest of San Juan has been well received by the communities, Tomás Ramírez, the vice chairman of the board of directors of Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s destination marketing organization (DMO), saw the move as positive for tourism.

“They have chosen, for now, the Convention Center, and I think that is positive because, truly, the level of activity generated around the Condado area, Old San Juan, would benefit moving people,” Ramírez said in a radio report. “[…] If we look at it in the long term, much longer term and there are the funds, well, the ideal is that it can extend eastward to Carolina and the airport, and westward, at least, to Toa Baja and it has been discussed taking it to Caguas. That would greatly alleviate local traffic, but it would also provide additional infrastructure that we need for the millions or thousands of visitors who are arriving.”

Recently, two open public discussions on the extension of the Urban Train system took place, and one meeting is still scheduled for August.

However, so far, the modalities of the train are contemplated as light rail or even high-speed buses.

“The community was able to speak with the working group and with us,” Menéndez Agosto said in an interview for 1320. “We explained to them what the analysis per se consists of, which is nothing more than carrying and extending the Urban Train system to the northwest of San Juan, that is, to old San Juan, with one stop or with several stops, but among them taking into consideration the Convention Center.”

After the last meeting with the communities is completed, an analysis will be finalized and presented to the Federal Transit Administration to request the necessary funds for the extension.

Although tourism in the San Juan metropolitan area would be impacted in a good way, Ramírez pointed out that tourism transportation remains behind in the southern and western regions of the island.

“We have been discussing how we can create bus routes that can move people, at least, from San Juan to Ponce and from San Juan to Aguadilla or Mayagüez,” he said. “[…] We have seen and it is seen in the statistics that while tourism in Puerto Rico has been growing by leaps and bounds, the western and southern regions are a little behind in that aspect because we have less air access since December 2023 and we do not have mass land transportation.”

Although he characterized the Urban Train as a good tool, Ramírez reiterated that its implementation is not only necessary in important points of the island for tourism, but also to address climate change and benefit citizens’ daily lives.

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