Lonely Planet Writer

Subway line crucial for Rio Olympics may not be ready in time

The Mayor of Rio de Janeiro has expressed his worries over a vital metro line extension connecting the city’s Olympic Park in Barra de Tijuca which may not now be finished in time for the beginning of the Games in August.

Rio is facing race against time to complete a crucial subway line to take crowds from tourist hotspots such as Copacabana to venues around the city
Rio is facing race against time to complete a crucial subway line to take crowds from tourist hotspots such as Copacabana to venues around the city
Image by Jon Curnow / CC BY 2.0

The transport link was pledged as part of the network for the continent’s first ever Olympics to take fans from well-known tourist hotspots such as Copacabana and Ipanema to the venues where tennis, basketball and swimming will be staged. Brazilian daily newspaper, O Globo, reported at the weekend that it had seen a confidential email from Mayor Eduardo Paes to the Rio Olympic organizing committee stressing that there was now “a high level of risk” that the subway line won’t meet its operational deadline. However a senior Government source believes that while there is a problem, there is still sufficient time to turn it around.

the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro has said in an email that there was now a "high level of risk" that the subway line would not be operational by the time the Olympic Games gets underway in August
The Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, has said in an email that there was now a “high level of risk” that the subway line would not be operational by the time the Olympic Games gets underway in August Image by Luiz Gadelha Jr. / CC BY 2.0

Swim Swam Magazine reports that the line is expected to cut travel time significantly from the Athletes’ Village and main Olympic Park to Copacabana and Rio Centro. This journey can take up to two hours during rush-hour traffic.

In his email, the Mayor also drew attention to alternative transport system being geared up by the Transport Secretary. The source confirmed that a Plan B had been drawn up which would see the Rapid Bus Transport System being used for its express lanes to travel the route. The Mayor said it needed to be acted on and submitted to the IOC for assessment. However a government spokesman has rigorously denied there is any problem and said they are “within the time frame” with only 200 metres of tunnel still left to be dug.