I was late, so I only got the bus at 9:15. Spent and impatient 15 minutes on the bus getting to my stop close to the metro. A brief walk, around 5 minutes, presented me with the crowd waiting to be let in. It appears that being a few minutes late wasn't such a bad thing. Most are sightseers taking advantage of the free trip to the next stop, where we are supposed to get off the train, navigate the escalators to the surface, exit, then enter again, paying this time, to be able to continue our journey.
This metro station is very different and, apparently 'green'. Instead of the usual turnstiles where we pay, there are automatic glass sliding doors. This looks snazzy, but slows the peak hour crowd down dramatically, as you have to wait for it to slide open slowly instead of just going through. I think I'll half miss the clackety-clack of the turnstiles spinning as the crowds filter through. The escalators are also a novelty. They automatically sense if there is no traffic, at which time they either slow down or stop completely, being reactivated by human traffic again. There is no artificial lighting in this station. It is all lit by daylight. Wonder what happens at night or on dark mornings. I'll find out eventually, I guess. To get onto the train, there are glass sliding doors preventing entry (this is on the platform). It's a form of crowd control. We'll see how effective that is when peak hour service starts.
There was a 10 minute wait while photographer-types and officious-looking bodies cruised the line, fussing. A few of us who needed to get to work were antsy. We eventually started up. The photo up there is misleading. That carriage (we were confined to two central carriages) was crowded. I think the photo must have been taken of one of the later trips.
The stations are marked inside the train with little lights, very handy for times when the driver is incomprehensible, though these trains are apparently driverless. Should that make me nervous or should I be pleased? Hard to tell. A lady's voice politely tells us that we are approaching Sacomã and should prepare to disembark and thank you for your patronage (or words to that effect). A bell sounds, the doors slide open and the masses flock off, causing instant congestion as they mixed with the folk from that station waiting to board. It was a mess!
A few of us tried to make our way into the crowd, being in a hurry to pay and get on our way, but it was fruitless. We eventually walked on, passing a few carriages, got back onto the train. That was how I scored myself a free ride. Do I feel guilty? Absolutely not. It was mayhem and I was already running late. Why they couldn't let those who planned to go the whole run pay at the first station is beyond me. They could have opened the side gates for those wanting a free ride.
In all, the new trains are brilliant. They're clean and air-conditioned (another thing that can be both good and bad - I'm not a fan of air-conditioning). There are very few seats, but that isn't a bad thing in our sardine cans. They need more standing room. Standing is the only way to fit in the requisite number of bodies.
It's about 20 minutes to the station from my home. Once on the train, it passes back over where I live and through another station that is actually closer to my home, but not open yet. Not sure how that works or when that will be open or even if it'll be of any use to me. There's a river between us and that station that spends most of summer in a state of flood. The station I used today is up on the hill in the opposite direction, though also on the other side of a road that frequently floods. Time will tell. Right now, it's actually easier for me to stick to my old transport routes. The functioning hours of this station are no help to the working populace.