The Metro is Medellin’s light rail system. It is very modern, fast, smooth and efficient. The main line of the Metro runs between Niquia in the southern part of the valley to Itagui toward the north. There also is a lateral rail line from the San Antonio Station to San Javier on the western side of the valley. Two cable lines provide service to higher areas on both sides.
From San Javier the cable climbs up to La Aurora. The eastern cable can be caught at the Acevedo transfer station and currently provides service to the Santa Domingo. The eastern line is being extended to the Parque Arvi Piedras Blancas Ecological Park near El Tambo. Service to el Tambo is expected to start in 2010. These cable systems also are very modern and well constructed. This service will provide transportation from el Tambo to the Acevedo station in 14 minutes; currently it takes between 45 minutes and a hour to get there by bus.
Ticket prices vary depending on what services you need. The basic fare is COP$ 1,500 or about US$ 0.75. You also can buy tickets that combine Metro travel with bus service. These range from COP$ 1,800 to 3,550 for the connection with the microbus to Barbosa. This is deal as Barbosa is located way down the valley toward the south.
You also can buy the Civica card which is read electronically at the turnstiles. With the Civica the basic fare is COP$ 1,350 or about US$ 0.68. People over 60 ride for 1,300 pesos and persons with limited mobility for 1,050. The Civica is great when there are lines to buy tickets. Just swipe the card at the turnstile and avoid the crowd.
The card will cost you 2,500 pesos for the initial loading with fares which you can use. I lost my card and was charged 8,500 (US$ 4.25) for a replacement. The best place to apply for the card is at the San Antonio station. You can pick it up 5 days after making the application. Then just take it to any ticket booth in the system and buy fares in the quantity you prefer.
I have frequently seen the police help people in wheelchairs get up and down the stairs in stations where no lifts are available. This system promotes a very civic attitude and people take good care of the stations, trains and one another. There are police at all stations to provide security. I have always found them to be friendly and helpful.