Chile Transportation

Public transport

Since January 1, 2007, the Greater Valparaíso TMV Metropolitan Transportation Plan has been implemented, which allows the communes of Viña del Mar, Concón, Quilpué, Villa Alemana and Valparaíso to have an organized transportation system, which its preference is to provide order, security and tranquility to users. And above all, speed in the trips, for which the same routes of the previous system are made, but in an orderly way, through the implementation of a Global Positioning System or GPS device, allowing the corresponding companies to each Business Unit supervise the complete route, the speed and the minimum frequency.


Metro Valparaíso (Merval) is a railway urban and interurban metropolitan area, which crosses a large part of the Valparaíso or Greater Valparaíso Metropolitan Area, which also has the maritime port of the same name, part of the Valparaíso-San Antonio port corridor. This means of transport connects the communes of Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Quilpué, Villa Alemana and Limache, the latter outside the urban radius of the conurbation. It is managed by Metro Regional de Valparaíso SA, a subsidiary company of the State Railways Company (EFE). The new service also benefits, functionally and strategically, the residents of the residential communes of Quilpué and Villa Alemana, in addition to the satellite city of Greater Valparaíso, Limache, three of the places where most of the passengers who habitually use the old system, MERVAL.


Due to the slopes of the Valparaíso hills, many of the neighboring sectors of the port are inaccessible by public transportation. That is why the elevators fulfill the function of connecting the upper part of the city with the plan, in addition to being tourist references. The first elevator, which was powered by steam, was built on Cerro Concepción in 1883. The Cerro Cordillera elevator was built in 1887.

Although the original idea was to build an elevator per hill ―Valparaíso has 43 hills, in such a way that 43 funiculars would have been necessary―, this work could not be completed due to the appearance of buses and the construction of roads that made access easier . However, more than 30 elevators were built, of which 15 remain, the vast majority still in operation and a few out of service or undergoing repairs. The reconstruction of certain non-existent funiculars, such as the Esmeralda, which connected Condell Street with Atkinson Promenade, has even been suggested.

Among the curiosities of the funiculars, the following stand out: The Ramaditas Funicular, located on Washington Street, was the only funicular that was located on a hill, unlike the rest that was in the plan.

The Artillería funicular became so successful that its owners decided to build a “second line” next to the original one – each line with its respective engine room -, thus creating the only four-car funicular in Valparaíso. Over time, the funicular stopped being profitable and the first line was dismantled, leaving today only traces of it; line 2 is the one that currently works.

The only “institutional” funicular in Valparaíso is that of the Van Buren Hospital, which is only allowed to use by staff members of the establishment. This funicular is heir to a vertical one, similar to the Polanco, which is called San Juan de Dios (name of the hospital), built at the end of the 19th century.

Valparaíso currently has 16 Funiculars declared National Historic Monuments between 1974 and 2010. Five are municipal property and the remaining belong to four private companies. The municipal funiculars are the Barón, El Peral, the Polanco, Reina Victoria and San Agustín lift (stopped for work). As for the rest, the Florida, Mariposas and Monjas funiculars are owned by the Compañía Nacional de Ascensores SA; Artillería, Concepción and Cordillera belong to the Compañía de Ascensores Mecánicos de Valparaíso; Espiritu Santo, Larraín and Villaseca (detained for repairs) are owned by the Compañía de Ascensores Valparaíso SA; and Lecheros (arrested by a fire) belongs to Compañía de Ascensores del Cerro Lecheros Ltda.


According to Educationvv, another means of collective transport is the trolleybus, popularly known as trolley, electric vehicles, built in the defunct Pullman-Standard Company in the United States. They began to serve with great pomp on December 31, 1952, five years after they did in Santiago. This date was highly anticipated by the porteños, since it was the day that the old electric trams went out of circulation, with the same joy that they had received in 1903 when they replaced the blood carts, which were pulled by percherons and strong horses by the rails that rested on the cobblestones.

In the early 1990s, second-hand articulated trolleybuses were bought in Switzerland, which were manufactured from around 1965 to 1975. In 2000, they had to leave the old Independence hall because the land was sold to build the new Criminal and Oral Guarantee Courts, they stayed until 2006 on a vacant lot on España Avenue. Between 2006 and 2008, they had their workshops in Placilla de Peñuelas, but since mid-2008 they have been back in Valparaíso.

In recent years, administrative problems have jeopardized its permanence within the city’s public transport system. A lifesaver for these old machines, silent witnesses to a glorious past occurred in July 2003, as the Council of National Monuments of Chile granted the fifteen Pullman-Standard Trolleys models 800 and 700 that are still in operation the category of National Monument..

It is protected under the collective bidding system of the Valparaíso Metropolitan Transport (TMV), which, despite not completely solving its problems, has made this means of transport the most picturesque in the entire country; thus they have also ensured its operation for several more years, being a comfortable, clean and respected transport by most of the residents of Buenos Aires. At times this service is used by local theater companies and schools to perform plays related to the main milestones in the history of the city.

Chile Transportation