Things seem to be going a bit south for the reactivated train to Mar Del Plata recently. Apparently, costs will be significantly higher than train’s profit and the public turnout was less than expected — 50% less to be exact. A low blow for the government’s expectations.
According to Infobae and La Nación, the public service will be costing Argentine tax payers AR $1,370,000 per day. We wish we were exaggerating. Marcelo Ofina, President of Ferrocarriles Argentinos, recently released the numbers to the media.
Ofina claims that the money going into the maintenance of the train will be of AR $25.000 million a year. An amount that puts the AR $2,000 million profit estimate to shame.
Costs have added up due to the railroad track repairs and employee training. Workers overseeing the construction found 18.000 railway track beams with defects. All which had to be fixed and must be consequentially maintained.
Ofina also explained how 1,500 workers had to be trained before the train could even start operating. The President of Ferrocarriles Argentinos explained, “When the National government gave this project to the Province, there were 1100 employees. We have conducted a study which displayed that the needed number of functionaries for the public transport is 1500.”
The train’s first trip took place this morning, Tuesday July 4th. The route was timed to have lasted 6 hours and 45 minutes. However, the trip’s turnout was not as popular as the organizers had hoped.
Only 53 percent of tickets were sold for the trip. While the train’s capacity is 559 seats, a mere 331 tickets were sold.
One can’t help but wonder if all the hard work was worth the wait. Excessive costs and insignificant profits shadow today the newly inaugurated train to Mar del Plata. Will the government be able to keep the public service operating for long?