For the first time, it will be possible to travel by train between Lisbon and the estuary town of Sado in Setúbal. Last week saw the maiden journey on the newly-inaugurated route, in a ceremony presided over by Transport Minister, António Mexia. To begin with, Fertagus, the company operating the service, expects to carry around 10,000 passengers a day and hopes that this number will rise to 80,000 a day in the near future.
It is believed that the new train route will reduce the volume of traffic on the bridge over the River Tejo by thousands of cars a day. Aristides Teixeira, President of the Democratic Association of Users of the 25 de Abril Bridge, has said that, although he believes just one commuter train has the capacity to carry this volume of passengers, he considers the ticket prices too high. He believes this will lead to many people prefering to drive. Another criticism directed at the new Lisbon to Setúbal service is that it only has one train per hour at rush hour periods.
“There is still a lot to be done for the passengers so we organised a demonstration at the Coimbra station during the inauguration,” declared Teixeira. Manuel José Soares, a member of the Commission of Transport Commuters from Margem Sul, considers that the new service will create problems for passengers using the line between Fogueteiro and Pragal, bearing in mind that intervals between the arriving trains vary from seven to 15 minutes.
The new route between Lisbon and Setúbal, lasts 57 minutes and the price of a ticket is 3.90 euros. A train from Lisbon to Azambuja, via state operator CP, covering an identical distance, costs only 1.55 euros.