|A ride with a view from Medellin's metro. Why pay more to bury a train line underground? (Photo: Colombia Travel)|
That's a very, very inconvenient place to try to build a train line.
But above Bogotá, there's a lot of....empty space.
|Urban trauma: Subway construction in Toronto, Canada.|
An elevated train costs lots less to build and to maintain than does an underground line. (And a ground level train is even cheaper.) That's a fundamental factor for Bogotá, which can't figure out where it'll find the estimated $7.5 billion dollar price tag of the first underground subway line. (The cost is equivalent to the city's whole annual budget.)
A ride in an elevated train line is also lots more pleasant. I grew up mostly in the San Francisco,
|Riding in the sun. A BART train pulls into a station. (Photo: NBC Bay Area)|
So, more people will ride an elevated train - and enjoy it a lot more.
And it's no secret that one of Bogota's big drivers for building a subway line is status. That's why city leaders keep repeating that Bogotá's the only big Latin American city without a metro, and one of only a couple of cities its size in the world without one. Peer pressure is a bad reason to do anything. But, if what Bogotá wants is status, then building a shiny, visible above-ground train line will do lots more for the city's image than would burying that train under ground.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours