Two metro units in Bolueta station.
|Locale||Bilbao – Greater Bilbao|
|Transit type||Rapid transit|
|Number of lines||2|
|Number of stations||38 (22 under ground, 16 over ground)|
|Daily ridership||238,356 (average weekday in 2009)|
|Began operation||November 11, 1995|
|Operator(s)||Biscay Transport Consortium (CTB)|
|System length||40 km (24.9 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,000 mm (3 ft 33⁄8 in)|
Metro Bilbao is a rapid transit (metro) system serving the city of Bilbao and the region of Greater Bilbao. Its lines have a "Y" shape, with two lines that transit both banks of the Nervión river and then combine to form one line that ends in the south of Bilbao. The network of Metro Bilbao is connected with EuskoTran (tram services), Cercanías (commuter rail services), EuskoTren (commuter rail services), FEVE (commuter rail services, regional and long-distance trains) as well as the Renfe service (long-distance trains) and Bilbao's bus station Termibus. It uses a meter gauge.
It was the fourth Metro line to be built in Spain, after those in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. Currently, it is the third biggest Metro company in Spain by number of passengers carried (87,000,000 in 2009) behind the Madrid Metro and the one in Barcelona. It is followed by the metro services of Valencia, Seville and Palma de Mallorca.
On February 21, 2007, the Basque Government announced a project for the creation of a third Line , which in the future will be expanded to Bilbao Airport. Construction of the new line began in July 2008.
On January 25, 2008, the preliminary layout of lines four and five was designed. At the same time, the University of the Basque Country requested the construction of "Line 6" in order to connect Leioa (where the university is located) and Getxo with Asua Valley (where the airport is located) and going through the university campus.
|Line||Terminals||Length||Stations in service||Total number of stations|
(*) The section between the stations of San Inazio and Etxebarri is the same for Lines 2 and 1 with 10,39 km and twelve common stations.
Besides this, most of the stations have connections with different bus lines. At the same time, Urbinaga Station was built with the intention of connecting lines C1 and C2 of Cercanías and Ansio Station with a bus terminal. However, these connection projects have not been finished as of 2009. Eventually the Urbinaga project was restarted in 2009. That future intermodal station will also take advantage of the future Leioa-Urbinaga Tram. Its construction was expected to start at the end of 2009.
The idea of building a metro system in the city of Bilbao is an old one. In the 1920s the city's council prepared a project to build a metro system in the neighbourhoods of Abando and San Francisco. Soon after, the economic crises and the Spanish Civil War put a definitive end to the project.
In 1971 the government of Biscay, the Bilbao City Council and the Commerce Bureau created a commission to evaluate the transportation needs of Greater Bilbao. In 1976, five years later, the Biscay Transport Consortium (CTB, see Creditrans) was created. In that same year two proposals were created to start a metro service in 1985, the first of them is almost identical to the current network.
A year later a project was created to build the metro, however lots of objections were raised against it and disagreements between different institutions put an end to it.
In 1985 the construction plans were altered and a new project was created. Finally in 1987 the Basque Government approved the plan to build and finance the Bilbao Metro.
A metro system was deemed to be the best way to improve congestion problems in the evolving and regenerating city. The contract for the underground metro system in Bilbao was awarded to the architects Sir Norman Foster and partners in 1988 following an open competition.
The same year the first underground station was opened in Erandio, on the existing Bilbao-Plentzia railway. In 1989 construction began in the city center, where the main Moyúa square was closed to pedestrians until 1997. Construction was especially complicated in the neighbourhoods of Deusto and San Inazio, where the cut and cover tunnel excavation damaged some buildings, was very noisy, and caused severe traffic disruptions. This method of excavation contrasted with the tunnel-boring machines used elsewhere in the city.
The first part of line one opened on November 11, 1995, with 23 stations between Casco Viejo and Plentzia. The tracks outside Bilbao were previously part of Eusko Trenbideak / Ferrocarriles Vascos (EuskoTren) and earlier of FEVE.
By July 5, 1997, the total number of stations was 27 as Santutxu, Basarrate and Bolueta joined Gobela which had opened the previous year.
The first line, which operates north of the River Nervión, was later joined by a second line, which operates south of the river. The two lines split at San Inazio, from where the second runs to Santurtzi. The original five stations (Gurutzeta-Cruces, Ansio, Barakaldo, Bagatza and Urbinaga) were opened on April 13, 2002. The furthest eastern point is now Etxebarri station, opened along with Sestao on January 8, 2005. Line 2 was enlarged with two new stations in Portugalete that were opened on January 20, 2007 ( Abatxolo and Portugalete). The last two new stations joined to Metro system on July 4, 2009 in Santurtzi: Peñota and Santurtzi stations.
|Line||Terminals||Status||Length||Total number of stations||Operator|
|Line 1||Basauri / Plentzia||Complete||31 km||31||Metro Bilbao S.A.|
|Line 2||Basauri / Kabiezes||Complete||20 km||26||Metro Bilbao S.A.|
|Shuttle to Mamariga||Santurtzi / Mamariga||Under construction||500 m||2||Metro Bilbao S.A.|
|Line 3||San Antonio / Aireportua||Under construction||12.376 km||10||EuskoTren|
|Matiko / Rekalde||In studies||6 km||7||Metro Bilbao S.A.|
|Line 5||Etxebarri / Usansolo||In studies||8,8 km||6||Metro Bilbao S.A.|
(*) The stations and kilometers in common for all the all count just as one, as the route between the stations of San Inazio and Etxebarri are the same for lines line 2 and line 1 with 10'39 km and 12 stations in common.
It is expected that in 2010 Ibarbengoa Station, located between the stations of Bidezabal and Berango, will be opened. It is also expected to bury the level crossings located in Maidagan and Urduliz.
It is not expected to expand the line further from Kabiezes, despite the requests of the neighbors of the Mining Zone and Ortuella, where the parking area of the Metro units will be located.
In 2010 will start working the access to Santurtzi station from the neighborhood of Mamariga, using two underground shuttles. Those shuttles weren't on the original layouts, so its construction delayed the Metro services in Santurtzi.
In 2010 the metro will reach Ariz and Basauri, at the end of the common line that forms Line 1 and 2 (Ariz and Basauri are located before Etxebarri, where the terminal station is currently located). The original Metro layout for Lines 1 and 2 will be finished when those stations are opened.
Basauri's town hall, along with the neighbouring towns, requested the construction of another station in Basauri, in the neighborhood of Sarratu. That station would work as an interchange station for different means of transportation. In the last months of 2009, Metro Bilbao announced that it would consider the creation of that station in Basauri, as it would function as an interchange station for the services of EuskoTren; FEVE (which only has cargo services in that location); and even with Line 5 of the metro.
The definitive layout of Line 3 of Metro Bilbao has seven stations, in place of the six originally planned (Matiko Station was not included in the first layouts). The line will start working and will be opened to the public in 2012, as construction started in the summer of 2009, it will cost 153 millon euros. and will transport 71,000 people according to Bilbao council. The new line will have a length of 5,885 meters and will have one station in Etxebarri: San Antonio Station, and six stations in Bilbao: Otxarkoaga, Txurdinaga, Zurbaranbarri, Casco Viejo, Uribarri and Matiko.
The Line 3 project has been heavily criticized by the people of Bilbao and opposition political parties. The main reason was the marginality of the layout, as the line does not cross the river or reach the district of Rekalde, as it was expected at first, and between the stations of San Antonio and Matiko, the line runs parallel to Line 1 and Line 2, existing one connection station in Casco Viejo.
The fact that the operating company will be EuskoTren and not Metro Bilbao also raised criticism, as this company has lower quality standards and has less frequent interurban services. It is feared that the train traffic (from EuskoTren) coming from San Sebastián, Bermeo and Durango makes good quality service more difficult, as in the beginning there will be only two rail tracks in most of the route; those two rail tracks will have to deal with the metro services and the regional ones. However, EuskoTren has announced that the train frequency in Line 3 will be five minutes, the same as in the rest of the Metro lines. It would then be a new part of EuskoTren in Bilbao, but with schedules and services more characteristic of rapid transit.
The preliminary layout of the future Line 4 (Moyúa / Rekalde) was presented on January 25, 2008. The preliminary layout suggests that Moyúa Station, which currently gives service to Line 1 and Line 2, will connect with Rekalde with two intermediate stations: Zabalburu (which currently has a suburban rail station) and Irala. There were previous discussions about the ramifications of whether to connect with either Moyúa Station or Bilbao Abando Station, this is due to the fact that Rekalde did not have a Metro connection. Line 3 was originally planned to connect Rekalde with the rest of the city, but the final plan moved the line in another direction.
The plan to add Rekalde to Line 3 was halted, and the route completely altered. This change was criticised, specially by people from Rekalde. In 2009 a new layout for a new line (Line 4) was considered; this new line would connect Rekalde with Moyúa and the latter station with Deusto, taking advantage of the rail tracks of EuskoTren, that are currently in that zone. Matiko Station would be connected too. The line would then have the Plaza Euskadi Station ("Euskadi Square Station") after Moyúa and then cross the river to Deusto (Deusto Station) and a new station in the University of Deusto campus (Unibersitatea), to then finally reach Matiko (Line 3).
Also on January 25, 2008, the preliminary layout for Line 5 (Etxebarri / Usansolo) was presented. This new line would connect Etxebarri with Galdakao. At first it was only planned for the line to have five stations, however the line is still on studies and may suffer major modifications. Later, one more station was added, on the Bengoetxe neighborhood on Galdakao. The line will start being constructed in 2012 and is expected to be finished in 2016
The stations on the preliminar layout are Etxebarri (which currently gives service to Line 2 and Line 1), Aperribai, Bengoetxe, Galdakao, Galdakao's Hospital, and Usansolo, where the metro will be connected with lines 1, 1d and 3 from EuskoTren, which currently operate in that station.
See also: List of Bilbao metro stations
|L1||L2||L3 (under construction)|
|Santutxu Station||Santutxu Station||Zurbaranbarri|
|Casco Viejo||Casco Viejo||Casco Viejo|
|San Mames||San Mames||Sondika|
|San Inazio||San Inazio|
The Metro Bilbao network is divided into the following fare zones:
Metro Bilbao offers special cards that are personal and cannot be transferred, with a time limit of 5 years since the date of expedition. They can be obtained on any of the customer attention offices of Metro Bilbso (located in the stations of Ansio, Casco Viejo, San Inazio and Areeta).
The ticket system is closed, that means that a validation of the ticket is required when entering to the station and again when exiting.
There are different kind of tickets, each of them has a different fare (updated as 2009):
The Metro network works from 6:00am until 11:00pm from Monday to Thursday, and until 2:00am on Friday and Saturday and days before festive days. There is an all night service from Friday to Saturday, with trains each 15 minutes on the main lines and with a 30-minute frequency on the other lines. On months of June, July, August and September, the no-interruptions night service also works on Fridays. During "Bilbao's Great Week", there are special services every night.
During weekdays, there is a frequency of 3 minutes on Zone A, 6 minutes on Zone B.0, B.1 y B.2 and 18 minutes on Zone C during most of the day.
In 2007 Metro Bilbao was used by almost 86 million people, being the third most used metro in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. Since it serves directly about 680,000 people, each citizen travels about 126 times a year. Ridership increases steadily every year, there are some dramatic increases in 1998 and 2002 due to enlargement of the network, ridership is expected to reach 100 million people per year once the network is completed.
Access to the metro is provided by 'fosteritos', glass structures affectionately named after the architect who designed them Norman Foster. These modern-looking tunnels stand attractive alongside the modern and innovative interior of the stations.
Large caverns of a 160m2 cross section were dug for stations, creating large open spaces, as opposed to the traditional sets of linked tunnels. For example the ticket line is in the same space as the trains, for this purpose steel structures called 'mezzanines' have been built over the tracks. Trains are fully accessible by lifts and escalators. Materials such as steel and concrete have been used throughout.
Sarriko station won the 1998 Brunel Award for Railway Design. It is noticeably different from the rest of the stations in the network: in place of the standard 'fosterito', a vast glazed atrium pours natural light into the entire station, and the long, unbroken escalator ride to the ticket hall from street level gives a dramatic sense of character to the station.
Away from the main structures, the design company Akaba created the seating systems for the Metro, which subsequently won the Spanish National Industrial Design Prize from the Ministry of Science and Technology in November 2000. A distinctive signage system was created by Otl Aicher, which are responsible for the eye-catching masts bearing the Metro logo. The principal colours used are of white lettering on a red background for key information and black lettering for secondary details.
The Metro Bilbao uses presently train types of the series UT-500 and UT-550, built by CAF. The company uses 24 trains of the first series and thirteen of the second. All vehicles are maintained and parked in Sopelana and Ariz.
The first sixteen vehicles which carry the numbers UT 501 to 516 were delivered by CAF and ABB in November 1995. Inside each car 2+2 seats are arranged respectively vis-à-vis in the colors of the Corporate design – red and grey –. A set of four cars is altogether 72.12 meters long, 3.85 meters high and 2.80 meters wide. That's specially wide for a train that uses narrow gauge, for example vehicles of the large profile Berlin metro are only 2.65 meters wide, and they use the normal gauge of 1435 millimeters.
The trains use, like the commuter railroads in the region, the overhead tension of 1500 volts and possess altogether sixteen motors of respectively 180 kilowatts; together that yields 2880 kilowatts per train unit. The maximum speed is 80 kilometers per hour. A train can carry 712 persons. This statement is based upon 144 seats and 568 standing on the average six persons per square meter.
The number of trains was increased after a renewed order in 1996 to a total of 24 trains with the numbers UT 517 until 524. For the higher requirement in the newly constructed line 2, thirteen new trains were ordered to the firms CAF and Adtranz (now mother company of ABB) and they were delivered in October 2001. The last delivery contained now the new trains of the series UT-550. This series differs from its predecessor in a higher efficiency, needed to climb the deep line 2 tunnel under the river, and an improved air-conditioning.
Since 1998 the ATP system is used (automatic train protection), as well as ATO (automatic train operation) installed. The latter implies that the train drivers must press solely a button, and the remainder of the train operation is done through the computer. This is to be seen as an initial stage for a system gone completely controlled by the computer