Transportation in Medellín

A City on the Move

Tourists who visit Medellin will have access to an array of public transportation services including cheap taxis, buses and the rail system known as the Metro.

Medellín boasts one of the most efficient transportation systems in all of the Americas. A pioneer since the early 80’s, Medellín has accomplished what many of the most progressive cities in the world have not, the creation of a mass transit system. Referred to as “The Metro”, it was first conceived with the creation of La Empresa de Transporte Masivo del Valle de Aburrá – Metro de Medellín on May 31, 1979. Feasibility studies carried out by the company Mott, Hay and Anderson put in motion a national project to be considered by the Government of Colombia and its National Advisory Council of Economic & Social Policy. After almost three years of studies and policy efforts, an approval for the project was reached in December of 1982. Construction commenced in 1984 and was contracted to German and Spanish companies.

Inaugurated on November 30, 1995, the metro made its first passenger commute between the stations of Niquía and Poblado on Line A. Soon thereafter, Line B was added which allowed passengers access to the southern sector town of Itagüí. To date, a total of 28 stations are serviced over a distance of 18 miles. Trains run at ground level except for a 3 mile section through downtown in which the train travels along raised viaducts above the streets below, providing some great views of the city. After more than 12 years in service, the metro has transported in excess of 60 million passengers. It currently provides transit access to more than 12% of its citizens on a weekly basis. This fusion of transportation has helped to break down accessibility, mobility and social barriers that once divided a city. A true modern marvel of transportation, the Medellín Metro is an integration of creativity, ingenuity and civic pride. There is even a leg called the Metrocable that was recently opened and consists of cable cars (similar to a ski lift) that transport residents and visitors up the mountain. The ride is safe and offers its passenger spectacular panoramic views of the city.

In addition to the metro, Medellín also offers an extensive and economical bus system that transports its citizens and visitors to all parts of the city as well as the rest of the country. Taxis are also plentiful here and are relatively inexpensive when compared to other parts of the world.

Update: Work is now under way to connect the Metro as far south as the municipality of Sabaneta and completion of this additional line is expected to occur by the end of 2010, thus adding several additional miles to the current system. (English available)

Interesting: This is a funny story of how Megan Lyles, a travel writer from New York, ran into some issues when taking the Medellin Metro to El Tesoro Mall on Saturday, March 18, 2006. Let’s just say that there was something ‘lost in translation’! Click here for story.