The Metro Dogs

One of the major political themes of Ricardo Martinelli’s election campaign was a  brand new mass transportation system for Panama City.  Panama’s public transportation system had collapsed and nothing had been done about it.  Martinelli said it was time for Panama to have its own subway or metro.  He looked at the Dominican Republic for guidance.  He even traveled there several times to see with his own eyes how it worked.

Winds of change are blowing over Panama.  You can see it blowing everywhere.  Transportation is one of them.  A big change I might say, is a mass transportation system with a price tag of $1.45 billion dollars.

True to his word Ricardo Martinelli, President of the Republic of Panama, has finally given the Panamanian people a state-of-the-art mass transportation system—the only metro system in Central America.

On August 16, 2011, I went to Fernández de Córdoba Street in the neighborhood of Vista Hermosa and saw first hand that an extensive area of the Panama Metro was under construction.  I was appalled at the intensity of the works being performed there.  Indeed “the dirt was flying” in that area of Panama City.

You could perceive that Ricardo Martinelli wanted to finish the landmark project by the year 2014 the year his administration would be over.  It would the first branch–of a total of three.  Future administrations will have to complete the other two lines, one of which will cross the Panama Canal to connect the cities of Arraiján and La Chorrera to Panama City.  The third one will connect the city of Chepo and other towns on the eastern part of Panama to the metropolis.

Snapshot of a worker at the Panama subway construction site on the neighborhood of Vista Hermosa. He told me he wanted his picture taken to be part of history. Good thinking, as with this image, he will be part of Panama’s history for his children and grandchildren to see. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.

April 5, 2014 was a historic day for our small country.  President Ricardo Martinelli officially inaugurated the Panama Metro during an enthusiastic event held in the neighborhood of Los Andes No. 2 at 4:00 p.m.  The next day at exactly 9:00 a.m. sharp, the Metro was opened to the public to take free rides and experience the modern features of the new transportation facilities.

Long lines of expectant Panamanian were patiently waiting in line to take their first ride into the 21st century.  A distant dream was now a reality.  A man with a vision has kept his word.  My wife and I were there to be one of the first to ride the train.

To add a drop of good humor, I will include a picture of a pair of dogs who were also waiting line for the train to arrive at the San Miguelito station.  What they didn’t know is that pets were not allowed to ride the train.  Maybe someday, there will be a special coach for pets.  You never know what the future holds.  Meanwhile, the dogs were lazily taking their morning nap waiting for the arrival of the train.  Close by, thousands of Panamanians nervously counted the minutes before the opening of the gates.  It is so exciting to be alive in Panama these days.

Stay tuned for more snapshots of the Panama Metro during the upcoming days.  Good Day.

Snapshots of two dogs taking a morning siesta near the San Miguelito Station of the Panama Metro. This was the first picture taken with my new Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II prime lens. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

6 thoughts on “The Metro Dogs”

  1. I read Panama will ask for bids to do Line#2 by the end of April. The bidders will have 3-3 1/2 months to submit a bid. The article wrote that Panama will spend $1 billion a year for the next 5 years….this would include Line#3. According to my way of thinking Panama should also be spending money on water supply and trash collection. This would go a long way in controlling dengue. And something should be done about the old tenant housing which are fire traps. I look forward to riding the Metro.

  2. Congrats on the opening of the Metro System. It had to have been a thrill for you finally to ride the train. It’s been fun following the entire process.

    And the dogs are great. I used to follow a photographer from Santiago who did a whole series on urban dogs. It’s amazing to see how well they live there, where they’re just accepted as part of life. None of them seemed to be wanting for food, that’s for sure. These look like they might be related.

    1. Morning Linda:

      I’m still under the spell of my recent ride on the Metro. Following the trail of this baby for a long time. Finally it’s right here before my very own eyes.

      Next time I visit the site, I’ll look for the dogs and see if they are still around. Probably will take some dog food with me. That could be a good story to follow. Thank you for the idea—Urban Dogs. Sounds fine!



      1. I try to take some animal food with me when I go anywhere. When I was able to walk around our block with my dog, Autumn Eve, I carried dog food and left it at places where dogs lived. I also stopped dozens of times after a rainy morning to pick up fishworms laying on the sidewalk where they had crawled and mated during the night. I’d pick them up and lay them off the hot sidewalks where they would have dried out and died. I used to tell my dog that I got an extra day on Earth for each life I saved that way. I try to follow the North American custom of telling a tree or limb why I need to cut it down or remove it.

  3. Morning Richard:

    What you read is accurate. As you can see, this country is rapidly developing into one of the most modern countries in the region. I hope our next elected president is at least as good as Ricardo Martinelli. After May 4th we will all know.

    I’m very optimistic about our future. I hope it continues this growing trend for many years to come.

    Yep, the Metro was a most rewarding experience.



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