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The first day of service at Malaga city centre's Guadalmedina and Atarazanas stations (file image). Migue Fernández
Malaga celebrates first anniversary of metro line extension with huge increase in passenger numbers
Transport

Malaga celebrates first anniversary of metro line extension with huge increase in passenger numbers

The opening of the Guadalmedina and Atarazanas city centre stations has led to the number of users of the transport system more than doubling

Chus Heredia

Malaga

Monday, 1 April 2024, 07:32

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Last week, Wednesday 27 March marked one year since Malaga metro network expanded into the city centre.

On that date last year, the transport system finally reached the heart of the capital of the Costa del Sol with the new Guadalmedina and Atarazanas stations after 17 years of work and bureaucracy.

Now that it's been in operation for 12 months, figures show almost 16 million people have used it in its first year on lines 1 and 2, well above expectations after the Junta de Andalucía regional government predicted 14 million.

Metro de Malaga, the concessionary company appointed by the Junta, has transported 15.82 million passengers since 28 March last year (the first day of operation after the official opening) until Tuesday 26 March - a daily average of 43,364 users a day.

'A debt to Malaga'

The Junta's regional minister for development Rocío Díaz pointed to the successful first year, which has settled an outstanding debt: "The city has enthusiastically welcomed this extension of the Malaga metro, which has been setting record figures day after day". She pointed out a new record set on Holy Tuesday: the best day since it came into operation in 2014, with 84,122 passengers.

The arrival of the Malaga metro in the city centre has more than doubled the number of users, according to the figures. The daily average for 2019, the year before the Covid-19 pandemic, was 18,842 users a day; meanwhile the average for 2022, the last full year without the extension to Atarazanas, was 18,357 users a day.

Last week closed with another record, the best weekly figure, with 417,955 passengers boarding trains from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 March - a daily average of 59,708 users a day. The previous weekly record was from 20 to 26 November last year, coinciding with the Christmas lights switch-on, with a total of 399,599.

The best months of the year since the metro was brought into service in the centre were October, November and December 2023, with daily averages of 47,469, 50,802 and 50,257 validated tickets, respectively.

The new Guadalmedina and Atarazanas stations have brought the Malaga metro route closer to the city centre, making it a more attractive mode of transport for users. The busiest periods are Easter week (with 516,990 passengers from Friday to Easter Sunday 2023), Feria (with 320,948 passengers from 11 to 19 August 2023) and Christmas (with 564,606 passengers registered from 24 December 2023 to 6 January 2024).

El Perchel, Guadalmedina and Atarazanas stations, which form part of the extension of the metro to the city centre, concentrate 35.45% of the passenger traffic of the total of 19 stations that make up the current metro network.

Line 2 extension

The anniversary coincides with when work is also due to get under way to extend line 2 to the Civil Hospital, specifically on the first of the three sections (Guadalmedina-Hilera-Santa Elena). And an important fact: 5.6 million passengers used the 'green' travel card or the youth card (41% of the total).

Room for growth

Despite the good results, there is still room for improvement. For years, Metro de Malaga's concessionary company has been forecasting trains will carry around 18 million passengers every year, just on the connection to the city centre.

The next leap will come when the network that is currently designed is completed, with the extension to the large hospital hub. By then, 21 million users are expected in the first year, and up to 22.6 million when the line is completed.

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