A new tram will link the cities of Olhão, Faro and Loulé in Portugal’s southern region of Algarve. An end to end trip will be 38 km long benefiting roughly 185,000 people, about 40% of the Algarve population, according to a preliminary study presented last week. The light rail will have 24 stops, serving around residents in the three municipalities. It is estimated that about 70,000 users will live within 600 meters of a tram stop.
“It is an ambitious infrastructure project linking three counties that are neighbors but in practice lie far apart if they are not properly connected,” Prime Minister, António Costa, said to Portuguese media in the city of Olhão. Preliminary calculations estimate the project’s total costs at as 300 million euros, both for the solution supported by electric vehicles, and the one supported by hydrogen vehicles. “With this funding we are helping to strengthen the economic base of the entire region,” said the Prime Minister, adding that the investment should be made during the structural funds programming period that ends in 2030.
The future line will pass three railway stations (Parque das Cidades, Bom João and Olhão) and fundamental facilities and services in the region, such as Gago Coutinho Airport (nine million passengers, five thousand workers) and the University of the Algarve’s Gambelas campus (5.3 thousand students).
We are helping to strengthen the economic base of the entire region.António Costa, Portugal’s Prime Minister
According to a study, around 40.000 trips per day could be made, with possible extensions of the line to Albufeira and Fuzeta being considered. “I’m well aware that it’s not always easy for municipalities to work together, especially on a project that doesn’t specifically serve any one of them,” said Costa to Portuguese media. “It only makes sense if all three are served together.”
The Algarve’s Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR) is the entity that developed the study on the light-rail metro along the Loulé, Faro and Olhão axis, where five possible routes were evaluated, as well as different technological options.
Costa’s cabinet visited the Algarve with more than 60 initiatives by the various ministers and secretaries of state, and the holding of the usual weekly Council of Ministers meeting. The initiative aims to “reinforce territorial cohesion”, after the first edition of this format was held last 25th and 26th January in Castelo Branco.
According to prime minister Costa, priority will be given hearing what local representatives have to say, as well as promoting the region’s economic and social development.