PORTUGAL’S FIRST monorail, operating in Oeiras since June, switched to a full-time schedule last Monday. The SATU (Sistema Automático de Transporte Urbano) takes passengers from Paço d’Arcos railway station to the Oeiras Parque shopping centre. The four-minute service is now running every day from 8am to 12.30am. Tickets cost one euro or 1.50 euro return.
The monorail has transported some 45,000 people during its first five months in service, which is 7.5 per cent of the number predicted. Asked by the daily Público newspaper, people living in the area complained that the SATU was expensive, considering the short stretch it covered. According to Câmara engineer Fátima Azevedo, however, the reduced time schedule had been the main obstacle for more frequent use of the monorail. She explained that now the trial period was over she expected passenger numbers to “increase considerably”. Based on an Australian system of electric cable-traction, the Oeiras monorail is a pollution-free means of transport, for which no driver is needed. The line is scheduled to be extended to Tagus Park and possibly, at a later stage, to Cacém railway station, on the Sintra-Lisbon line.